At the New York Times, Elif Batuman has a long and absorbing article on the trial over Kafka’s manuscripts: “It’s impressive that [Kafka’s] sisters had between them four lawyers, although, to put things in perspective, Josef K. at one point meets a defendant who has six.”
New this week is Jonathan Evison's West of Here, Joyce Carol Oates' memoir A Widow's Story about the death of her husband (this was the source of her recent, quite moving essay in the New Yorker), and the expanded rerelease of Alexander Theroux's The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. Also new on shelves from NYRB Classics is Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane, with an introduction by Phillip Lopate, who discussed Fontane in our Year in Reading in December.
"Sometimes you come across sentences that are like cairns, evidence the trail continues, and you are so grateful to have found them." For the Tin House blog Jacob Rubin considers one such sentence from Charles D'Ambrosio's Loitering, which our own Hannah Gersen reviewed for the Millions.
Julie Delphy's second film as writer/director/actress is released in Europe this month. The subject is 16th century Hungarian/Transylvanian countess Erzsébet Bàthory, known for murdering young girls to bathe in their blood and considered by some the first female serial killer. Judging from the trailer, Delphy's film doesn't appear to equal earlier visions of the Bloody Countess (French Surrealist Valentine Penrose's hallucinatory biography, for example, or Terry Gilliam's Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci) in The Brothers Grimm).
Shall I compare thee to a wormhole? No, this essay on astrophysics and poetry coupled with a poem for Stephen Hawking is most definitely more lovely. Kalpana Narayanan wrote an essay for The Millions on physics, grief, and Paul Murray's Skippy Dies that may pique your interest.
"Sometimes I think I’ve lost my nerve a little bit. I think it’s growing older, and a certain reservoir of anger literally runs out." The Guardian interviews James Wood, author and book critic at The New Yorker, about his craft, his forthcoming novel Upstate, and the landscape of today's literary criticism. Pair with: an essay about the greatness (and great influence) of Wood on a fellow novelist.