Here are the first lines of the new Gary Shteyngart novel, Super Sad True Love Story, forthcoming in July: “Today I’ve made a major decision: I am never going to die. Others will die around me. They will be nullified. Nothing of their personality will remain. The light switch will be turned off.”
“In Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Mozambique, it’s the real thing, not magic, and the only way to tell these stories.” Man Booker International Prize finalist Mia Couto discusses the label “magic realism,” the death of Cecil the lion, his new novel Confession of the Lioness – one of the most anticipated books of 2015, and post-civil war Mozambique. Pair with Philip Graham’s Millions essay on Couto’s fiction.
“Romatic realist” painter Bo Bartlett, born in Columbus, Georgia, is renowned for his epic tableaus depicting a “Hopper-like sense of longing and mystery combined with a Lynchian-cocktail of menace, beauty, and stranger-than-fiction reality.” He was also a protégé and life-long friend of Andrew Wyeth. In Oxford American‘s most recent SoLost installment, the crew checks out Bartlett’s surprising and endearing winter workspace.
Yesterday marked eight years since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti and a few days ago Trump put the country back in the news (but not in an reflective or uplifting way). Looking to learn more about Haiti sans racist rhetoric? The New York Times has “three books by Haitian writers that provide insight into the country’s history of struggle and resistance.” Find the list here.
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.
Although Jon Fosse is not well known in America, his work is revered in his native Norway, where he stands on a par with his onetime student and American celebrity, Karl Ove Knausgaard. In a piece for The Paris Review Daily, Damion Searls argues for Fosse’s relevance, claiming that Fosse is the only writer whose work made him weep as he translated it. You could also read Jonathan Callahan on Knausgaard’s My Struggle.