Today arrives Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, Lacuna, “an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover.” Also out are a couple more of those nifty “Olive Editions” from HarperCollins, this time of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Update: There’s a new edition of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation too.
Last month, while traveling through Des Moines, Iowa, President Barack Obama had the chance to interview one of his favorite authors: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson. The first part of the conversation was just published in the NYRB and the second part will appear in the next issue. Obama, who is a big fan of Robinson, had recently quoted her in his eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“For me, authenticity of setting is a kind of sine qua non for the feeling that a scene has been correctly done. I become unnerved if I haven’t got a ground plan, don’t know where my characters are. It’s a matter of personal psychology, I guess. I’ve always collected notes on settings. Most, of course, I’ll never use.” At the Tin House blog, Tim Horvath talks shop with Norman Rush.
“Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” Read an excerpt from the Black Lives Matter–inspired YA novel The Hate U Give by A. C. Thomas, scheduled for release next June. See also some of our favorite writers on their favorite political writing, or our review of Nate Marshall’s poetry collection, Wild Hundreds, which critic Emmanuel N. Adolf Alzuphar called “the foremost articulation of contemporary blackness’s dynamism in literature.”
The art of book translation becomes even more challenging when you translate a book that hasn’t been updated since the Cold War. At Asymptote, Jacek Dehnel discusses how much changed from Ariadna Demkowska’s 1962 translation of The Great Gatsby to his current work. “Demkowska was working under very different circumstances: behind the Iron Curtain and without access to Google. It was, therefore, more difficult for her to track down various details, such as those concerning well-known financiers or popular culture starlets of the 1920s.”
Those of you who know the joy of reading romance novels with your friends have probably wondered at some point what people who write erotica are like. Are they bankers and professionals? Housewives and mistresses? Are they some combination of all of the above? At Slate, a chaste look at the lives of unchaste writers.
Leave the marshmallows at home, and bring your bow and arrow to summer camp instead. In Largo, Florida, the Country Day School created a camp based on The Hunger Games, where campers play intense games of capture the flag. Don’t worry, killing your fellow campers isn’t allowed.