“I’ve never felt less self-consciously preoccupied with language than I did when I was writing Freedom.” Lorin Stein introduces The Paris Review’s new Winter issue, and includes excerpts from the Art of Fiction interview with Jonathan Franzen.
“His books used to be ink on paper; now we have to squint through the cloud of the Ellroy Phenomenon.” And the James Ellroy Phenomenon looks like it will only continue: the author has announced plans for a second L.A. Quartet, the first of which, Perfidia, comes out next week.
Out this week: Per Petterson’s latest to hit American shores is I Curse the River of Time. Also newly released is Mona Simpson’s My Hollywood. Mary Roach has another work of quirky non-fiction out, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Young readers can now get their hands on the seventh book in the Artemis Fowl series, The Atlantis Complex. And grammar mavens have a new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style to add to their reference shelf.
Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland that “There’s no ‘there’ there.” If the latest novel by Michael Chabon, Telegraph Avenue, is any indication, not everyone agrees — the author set the book in the Oakland of 2004. At The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog, Matt Feeney delves into the book’s racial politics.
“Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill.” The Atlantic has an excellent contribution to the age-old thesis that creativity and madness are inextricably linked–and tied, moreover, to mental illness–based in part on a sample of students at Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Pair with another essay on creativity and the “touch of madness” from our own archives.