Joe Fassler interviews recent MacArthur Genius and Year-in-Reading alum Viet Thanh Nguyen on the myth of overnight success, balancing an academic career while still finding time to write novels and the sacrifices all writers must make. Over at Electric Literature.
“This is minor, but I noticed a few typos. For instance, at various points on pages 144 through 148 and also on page 202, you wrote, ‘All wokr and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ And on page 308, it’s ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull Jack.’ If that one’s intentional, it provides a nice break from the preceding 307 pages, and the levity is a nice contrast to the monotony.” Notes on a Jack Torrance manuscript.
We’re a little late to The Guardian‘s Families in Literature series, which includes essays on everyone from the March sisters to the Moomins and has been running for the last few weeks. A particular favorite is Moira Redmond‘s look at Brideshead Revisited‘s Flytes and the strange but true power of falling in love with an entire family, which pairs well with our own Lydia Kiesling‘s Modern Library Revue of the novel.
You may have heard that Pulitzer laureate Oscar Hijuelos passed away on Sunday at the age of 62. Hijuelos, who won the prize in 1990 for his novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, broke ground as the first Latino author to take home the prestigious award. On NPR, David Greene talks with Columbia professor Gustavo Perez Firmat about the author’s legacy. (Related: Thea Lim on people of color and American writing.)
Peter Hedges, author of the novel and screenplay for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, as well as Dan in Real Life, and Pieces of April, is set to adapt and direct his latest novel, The Heights. Set in Brooklyn Heights amid its wealthy, over-zealous, stay-at-home mommy set, the novel follows a happy, slightly down-at-the-heel couple as their marriage is tested by the arrival of another woman. (All of the wit of Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, but not quite so dark and cynical.)
You wouldn’t think Grendel’s mother would win any awards for being a great mom, but Oyster is giving accolades to literature’s most horrifying mothers in honor of the holiday. The list also includes Madame Bovary’s Emma Bovary as the most selfish mother and Pride and Prejudice’s Mrs. Bennet as most nettlesome mother.