I’d heard that the New Yorker excerpt was the opening of Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Freedom, but it turns out it is preceded in the novel by this: “The news about Walter Berglund wasn’t picked up locally–he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St. Paul now–but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read the New York Times. According to a long and very unflattering story in the Times, Walter had made quite a mess of his professional life out there in Washington. His old neighbors had some difficulty reconciling the quotes about him in the Times (‘arrogant,’ ‘high-handed,’ ‘ethically compromised’) with the generous, smiling, red-faced 3M employee they remembered pedaling his commuter bicycle up Summit Avenue in February snow; it seemed strange that Walter, who was greener than Greenpeace and whose own roots were rural, should be in trouble now for conniving with the coal industry and mistreating country people. Then again, there had always been something not quite right about the Berglunds.”
We’ve written before about the By the Book series, in which the Times invites well-known authors to talk about their favorite books. This weekend, they interviewed the historian James M. McPherson, who recalled his childhood reading habits and cited his favorite examples of Civil War literature. Pair with: Darryl Campbell on the Civil War series by Ken Burns.
Michael Kimball wants to save you $50,000 dollars on an MFA – by sharing what’s he taught himself. Interested in reading more from someone without a traditional writing degree? Our own Hannah Gersen explains “The Value of Writing Programs: On Why I Don’t Have an MFA.”
It’s not online but “The Boy Who Had Never Seen The Sea” by newly named Nobel laureate Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio appears in this week’s New Yorker. See our recent guest post about publishing Le Clézio.In last week’s New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell was back, this time talking about “genius.” His guinea pigs were Ben Fountain and Jonathan Safran Foer.The headline says it all: “Karl Marx’s book sells as Germany economy sinks.””The _______of________“The fall issue of The Quarterly Conversation has arrived.
When a professor of literature wrote Flannery O’Connor for a master key for interpreting her story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” he probably did not expect her particularly unimpressed reply: “Too much interpretation is certainly worse than too little, and where feeling for a story is absent, theory will not supply it.” (Via the ever-excellent Letters of Note.)