It’s a big week for literary new releases. Chris Adrian’s much anticipated new novel The Great Night is now out, as is Francine Prose’s My New American Life. Also new this week are Roddy Doyle’s latest collection of stories, Bullfighting, and the reissue of William Boyd’s impish prank of a book, Nat Tate: An American Artist. Finally, past Booker shortlister Linda Grant has a new novel out called We Had It So Good.
In Meg Wolitzer’s new YA novel Belzhar, a group of teenagers packed off to an idyllic boarding school learn that they have the ability to undo their most serious traumas. Their discovery is sparked by a writing assignment in a class on Sylvia Plath. At Slate, Jennifer Ray Morell connects Wolitzer’s novel to Plath’s classic The Bell Jar. Related: our own Hannah Gersen’s interview with biographer Elizabeth Winder.
Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato reflects on her position living between languages. “I learned English out of necessity and that comes with its own problems—aesthetic and political ones. With childhood in one language and a writing life in the other, I’m standing both inside and outside my mother tongue and my stepmother tongue.” Pair with a piece on the important role of translators in literature.
“0.5 hrs: Read this week’s New Yorker fiction. 0.7 hrs: Hated on New Yorker writer with her derivative characters & mise-en-scenes. 0.1 hrs: Looked up ‘mise-en-scene’ on Wikipedia. 1.3 hrs: Phone call with writer friend; discussed how much New Yorker fiction sucks. 0.5 hrs: Drafted & emailed query letter to New Yorker (for super postmodern story).” The good people at McSweeney’s imagine an impossibly tedious world where writers and poets bill by the hour.
The most depressing favorable review of a TV show you’ll read this year, LA Review of Books shares why “Catfish: The TV Show” is so poignant and so very sad.
“And so the book we have available to us is not the one she intended for us to see — and to those who knew her only as the private spouse of a public figure, Michelle McNamara emerges from these pages as much of a mystery as the Golden State Killer does, gone in the dark.” In Vulture, a profile of the late true crime writer Michelle McNamara whose book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, was published last week. From our archives: an essay on why one writer reads true crime novels.