To add to the awards lists, Believer has announced its editors’ shortlist for the Believer Book Award, which looks to acknowledge “the strongest and most underappreciated” novels of the year. The shortlist includes Danielle Dutton’s Sprawl; Kira Henehan’s Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles (reviewed for The Millions); James Hynes‘ Next, Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps (reviewed for The Millions); and Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies (reviewed here).
“João Gilberto Noll frustrates attempts to foresee the plot or to craft stories as they are traditionally understood and written. The series of events that appear in them are as tenuously linked into a broader narrative as those of a dream.” An interview with Noll translator Adam Morris.
Keeping track of the art mentioned in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is almost as difficult as keeping track of Boris. Fortunately, Laura Petelle made a Pinterest board of all the art in the novel, complete with excerpts. Start reading from the bottom up, and beware of spoilers.
Out this week: LaRose by Louise Erdrich; The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller; The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon; The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes; Allegheny Front by Matthew Neill Null; The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley; Just Life by Neil Abramson; and The Selected Letters of John Cage. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
“Too often, being on the left tasks you with a vigilant daily quest to avoid being tagged with snobbery. In sociological living, we place value on those works or groups that seem most likely to force a reevaluation of an exclusive or oppressive order, or an order felt to be oppressive simply because exclusive. And yet despite this perpetual reevaluation of all values, the underlying social order seems unchanged; the sense of it all being a game not only persists, but hardens.” From n + 1, the latest “Intellectual Situation”: “Too Much Sociology.”
“I became completely obsessed.” At the 92nd Street Y, Rebecca Skloot shares the story behind her bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, joined by members of the Lacks family and actress Rose Byrne, who plays Skloot in the forthcoming film adaptation of her book. Skloot also discusses how the subject of the book is intimately linked to her own father’s health crisis, which Amy Halloran wrote about in our own pages a few years back.
David Kurnick explores what makes Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels so addictive. As he puts it, “In Ferrante we see what grand novelistic ambition looks like devoid of writerly vanity.” Pair with Cora Currier’s essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s books.