The office novel, by nature, is a tricky construct, if only because your average white-collar job doesn’t offer much in the way of fiction-worthy moments. That said, recent books like Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris demonstrate how fruitful it can be to wring drama out of the rat race. In the latest issue of Dissent, Cubed author Nikil Saval delves into the contradictions of office fiction. FYI, Saval wrote a Year in Reading entry for us.
Out this week: City on Fire by our own Garth Risk Hallberg (whom we interviewed yesterday); Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann; Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel; The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts; Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam; And West is West by Ron Childress; and Eyes by William H. Gass. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
“A novel is a trek home from the desert, sometimes a journey you wish you had never started. Exhausting and humbling, just occasionally wonderful. But a short story can come from a deeper part of the cave.” Jane Gardam on why she prefers writing short stories instead of novels in The Guardian. Pair with Lisa Peet’s essay on Gardam’s organically grown characters.
We’ve linked to infographics about the life cycle of translated books, but that doesn’t cover the difficulties inherent in translation itself. The New Yorker‘s latest Out Loud podcast tackles this subject as Adam Gopnik talks with Ann Goldstein and Sasha Weiss about priorities in translation and how we identify with the languages we use.
The Missouri Review interview with Jessa Crispin, founder of Bookslut. If you’ve yet to stumble upon the decade old literary blog, you might want to start with this recent post from Kevin Frazier on Edith Wharton and Julian Barnes. Or this treat from the archives about Monica McFawn Robinson trying to construct an undergraduate course syllabus on love.