David Remnick’s biography of President Obama, The Bridge is out. (The Times explained how Remnick finds time to run the New Yorker and write a 700-page biography of a sitting president.) Also new: Another chronicle of the collapse, The End of Wall Street by talented financial journalist Roger Lowenstein; Nobel laureate Jose Saramago’s “blog book” The Notebook; another in the posthumously published oeuvre of Irène Némirovsky, Dimanche and Other Stories; the latest from A.L. Kennedy, What Becomes; and Tom Rachman’s touted debut The Imperfectionists.
‘The 4½-foot tall poststructuralist philosopher I live with demonstrates a radical mode of viewership daily. Because of her, and with her, I am able—by moments—to move out of my own natural larval state and experience movies not just as deliverers of entertainment, conveyors of meaning, or objects of aesthetic contemplation, but as pure fields of emotional and sensory intensity, almost like rooms to which one can return.” Dana Stevens on watching movies with, and like, a child.
…meanwhile, quondam neighbor Jonathan Lethem has packed up for California (to take over the Pomona College position last held by David Foster Wallace). Just in time for Halloween, he raps with New York Magazine about the move…and about his new, book-length treatment of John Carpenter‘s They Live.
“Almost as soon as the concept of the Great American Novel was invented, in the nation-building years after the Civil War, Buell finds it being mocked, noting that one observer dryly put it into the same category as ‘other great American things such as the great American sewing-machine, the great American public school, and the great American sleeping-car.’ It was enough of a cliché by 1880 for Henry James to refer to it with the acronym ‘GAN,’ which Buell employs throughout his book.” On the reigning gold standard for quality in American fiction. (Related: we asked nine experts their picks for the best American novel.)
Stephen Moss caught up with AD Harvey, the “independent scholar” who tricked an entire discipline into believing Charles Dickens met Fyodor Dostoevsky. (If you missed Eric Naiman’s initial piece on Harvey’s trail of deception and trickery, you’d do well to acquaint yourself now.)