Newt Gingrich’s recent rise in Republican primary polls has occurred in tandem with the release of his historical novel set in the Civil War. The result? Gingrich writes a notorious massacre out of his book, The Battle of the Crater.
Whether you admire the work of e.e. cummings or think of him mainly as the inspiration for your high school’s worst poet, you’ll enjoy this excerpt of Susan Cheever’s new biography, which touches on the poet’s later years and his relationship with Cheever’s father. The two (contrasting) money quotes here are Malcolm Cowley’s claim that cummings was “the most brilliant monologuist I have known” and this exasperated question posed by Helen Vendler: “What is wrong with a man who writes this?
“Chekhov’s contemporaries wondered: What sort of Russian writer was he? He had no solution to the ultimate questions. With no ‘general idea’ to teach, wasn’t he more like a talented Frenchman or Englishman born in the wrong place?” (And our own Sonya Chung argues that personal character was in fact his “general idea.”)
“On the way home, the girl did not notice the color of the sky or the shape of the night, as she was too busy questioning why there were no secrets anymore.” As part of its Recommended Reading series, Electric Literature offers a special seven-part serial by Joe Meno. “Star Witness” tells the story of a young woman in a small southern town who spends the night searching for a missing local girl, and we can’t wait to read the next six installments. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s profile of Meno from a few years back: “[he] seems more than willing to try new things in his work, to stretch his expectations of what he can do as a writer, and what a book can be.”
From Flavorwire: in 1970 William S. Burroughs teamed up with British cartoonist and painter Malcolm McNeill to “put together what they called a ‘Word/Image novel’ (the term ‘graphic novel’ had not yet been popularized) and shopped it to publishers. After seven years of trying to sell the new genre, Burroughs and McNeill gave up. Next year the work will finally see the light of day.”
Why are women the primary consumers of true crime literature while an overwhelming majority of the genre showcases violence towards women? Over at Hazlitt, Casey Johnston has a few ideas about this seemingly irreconcilable paradox. Here is a complementary piece by Ujala Sehgal for The Millions on the female True Detectives of literature.
The new David Mitchell novel, The Bone Clocks, ends in rural Ireland, which explains why Kathryn Schulz chose to interview Mitchell on a walk through the Irish countryside. At Vulture, she talks with Mitchell about supercontinents, writing in childhood and the global scope of his work. You could also read the story Mitchell recently wrote on Twitter.