A dissection of Jonathan Franzen’s recent New Yorker essay on David Foster Wallace finds Franzen’s wires showing.
Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel includes, among other discomfiting things, a series of fake advertisements for surreal women’s beauty products. The plot, which follows a proofreader named A, begins with the main character’s attempt to evade her roommate, and eventually brings A to join a “Church of Conjoined Eaters.” At Slate, Molly Fischer argues the book deftly captures our society’s weird treatment of femininity.
Alice Munro announced her retirement from writing this week. “Perhaps, when you’re my age,” she told a National Post reporter, “you don’t wish to be alone as much as a writer has to be.” Previously the Canadian author announced her retirement in 2006, but that didn’t stop her from publishing two more books – including her latest story collection, Dear Life (Millions review). The uninitiated can get a primer on her entire oeuvre by checking out our comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Alice Munro. See also: “Can Writers Retire? Let Us Count the Ways”
In the Tank, the blog of the New America Foundation, has a new interview up with Konstantin Kakaes, author of the latest e-book from The Millions. Among other things, he talks about what he would do if he ran NASA -- "bring back a piece of Mars" -- and mentions that the Voyager spacecrafts will keep sending signals back to Earth until at least the year 2025.
It's another huge week for new releases. Happy Murakami day! Haruki Murakami's long-awaited 1Q84 is finally here - look for our review tomorrow, as is Walter Isaacson's headline-making biography of Steve Jobs. Also out is another massive and hotly anticipated work in translation (1152 pages!), Hungarian Peter Nadas's Parallel Stories. Lydia Millet has a new novel out, Ghost Lights, and Thinking, Fast and Slow is set to arrive from Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman.
"To the pathless wastes, into thin air, with no reviews, no best-seller lists, no college curricula, no National Book Awards or Pulitzer Prizes, no ads, no publicity, not even word of mouth to guide me!" For her new book The Shelf: From LEQ to LES, Phyllis Rose undertook the ultimate stunt in writing-about-reading: an unsorted shelf with no logic at all.
Frank Stanford isn’t the most well-known American poet, but he is one of the most revered, at least according to his contemporaries. At The Rumpus, David Biespeil writes about a new collection of the poet’s work, remarking that “no American poet I have ever met regardless of disposition or poetics has disliked Frank Stanford’s poems.”