Martin Amis’ The Pregnant Widow is out today (Kakutani sez, “remarkably tedious” but The Guardian adds, “Amis might draw comfort from the long and distinguished list of Kakutani’s literary victims.”) Also out, Sebastian Junger’s War, the result of time spent embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan.
As of last night, the UK has a brand new literary prize, the Folio, which its founders describe as “a Booker without the bow ties.” The Independent chronicles the short history of the prize, which owes its existence to a controversy among Man Booker judges two years ago.
Throughout the 80s and 90s journalists turned hip hop into a literary movement. Pitchfork dives into that time and explores their legacy and impact on journalism and other literary forms. "Eager to extend the outer boundaries of their creativity, many of these writers would go on to ink novels, memoirs, short stories, scripts, and poetry, much of which stayed true to the language and attitude of hip-hop, as though their words were drafted to the sound of a boom-bap beat. It all added up to a low-key literary movement that writer and activist Kevin Powell has dubbed, 'The Word Movement.'" Includes a great reading list at the end.
In 1958, the Indian writer Yashpal published the first installment of This Is Not that Dawn, an eleven-hundred-page novel and feminist epic written in Hindi. The book presages many of the biggest controversies affecting India today. At Page-Turner, Karan Mahajan reads the novel, explaining why he believes it to be "the greatest long novel about India." Related: Mythilo G. Rao pays a visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival.
The Millions is delighted to welcome new staff writer Marie Myung-Ok Lee, whose first piece for the site publishes today. Marie is the author of Somebody's Daughter and a novel about medicine forthcoming from Simon and Schuster. You may have seen Marie's excellent writing in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and many other venues. She teaches fiction at Columbia.
New this week are Mario Vargas Llosa's The Dream of the Celt, Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse by Denis Johnson, Living, Thinking, Looking: Essays by Siri Hustvedt, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Team Cul de Sac, a book done in tribute to the great comic done by Richard Thompson and to raise money for research into Parkinson's, which Thompson was diagnosed with in 2009.