Pankaj Mishra caught up with Orhan Pamuk in the midst of Turkey’s Gezi Park turmoil, and though the Nobel laureate was at first “reluctant to speak of the protests,” he occasionally let down his guard. In those instances, writes Mishra, Pamuk “revealed a shrewd political mind and a confidence about the new social consciousness the demonstrators represent.”
Writing about a foreign country is always a dodgy proposition, but it seems to be especially thorny when English people and Americans take on their transatlantic brethren. Looking over two contributions to the genre by English writers — Terry Eagleton’s Across the Pond and A.A. Gill’s To America With Love — Carlin Romano concludes that neither manages to “teach us something new about ourselves.”
The Atlantic has a great list up: “10 Essential Books for Thought-Provoking Summer Reading,” including The Late American Novel.
If you haven’t already, meet Coeur de Pirate, the beautiful and charming Quebec singer-songwriter Béatrice Martin. Her sound’s somewhere between Françoise Hardy and Icelandic band Seabear. Here’s the video for “Comme des Enfants” and here’s a fan-made video for “Printemps” (my favorite C de P song).
Just in time for today’s Booker announcement, a pair of shortlisters are now (or will be tomorrow) available stateside: In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut and The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. Ian Frazier’s big travelogue (generously excerpted in the New Yorker) Travels in Siberia is out, as is Adam Levin’s massive The Instructions from McSweeney’s. Three more: Djibouti by Elmore Leonard, How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu, and a gorgeous Library of America edition of “six novels in woodcuts” by pioneering graphic novelist Lynd Ward.
This graphic account of the uncomfortable on-stage conversation between Roxane Gay and Erica Jong at this year’s Decatur Book Festival comes from MariNaomi over at Electric Literature. Here are a few essays from The Millions that also deal with race, fatherhood, and fiction.