Jonathan Franzen’s 2011 Kenyon commencement speech, published this weekend in the New York Times, covers love, consumerism, and narcissism in the digital age. If you’re concerned with critical reception, looks like you’re not a creator of “serious art and literature,” in Franzen’s eyes.
New Directions releases César Aira’s The Hare this week. The novel was featured on our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview not long ago. Today also marks the release date for David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello’s Signifying Rappers, which is being re-released by Little, Brown.
Francis Spufford’s fictionalized book Red Plenty looks to the 1950s-1960s “cybernetics” initiative to answer one of the main questions about the USSR: “Could the Soviet project to build communism have succeeded, or was it doomed to failure from the start?” In his review for The Hoover Institution, Marshall Poe contends the latter.
“It’s interesting to me now how many lawyers I’ve published. There’s something about the retelling, the assembling of a logical arc, about planting the clues and so forth that is believable and compelling. There’s a similarity in the way your mind needs to work, too. The logical progression of the narrative, the planting clues, the revelations and also just imbuing it with the emotional truth of the moment. That’s what a fiction writer has to do.” An interview with editor and literary gatekeeper Lee Boudreaux.