Those following this weekend’s events in Tripoli will no doubt be interested in Banipal‘s issue dedicated to Libyan fiction. And, as Moammar Gaddafi‘s reign appears to be ending, the Guardian‘s evisceration of his short stories is worth a read. On NPR‘s site, Hisham Matar also explains the influence of Gaddafi’s rule on Libyan writing.
According to The Secret Literary Life of Augusto Pinochet author Cristóbal Peña, the Chilean dictator “was tormented by an intense inferiority complex, which he tried to deal with by collecting books.” A recent article in The New York Times provides a look at that book collection, which totaled around 50,000 books and has been valued at around $3 million.
“The call isn’t for a literature to, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has described, stop people from hitting us. […] But for a multiplicity of presence. A mingling, if not an acceptance, of a duality of presence. The right to be average. For the black guys in our literary fiction, if nowhere else, to be given the benefit of the doubt.” Over at the Ploughshares blog, Bryan Washington makes a case for inclusion in literary fiction.
“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.)