My essay on Zadie Foster Franzenides and the current state of literary aesthetics is in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine.
“But we are lured into believing that the first person is the manifestation of an authentic self. Or: we fall for the first person because we feel so little coherence in our own internal lives, and immersing ourselves in a sustained first person narrative gives us the false reassurance of an illusion.”
n+1 posts several amusing excerpts from their “What Was The Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation” piece to be released in full later this month: “Like ‘douchebag,’ ‘hipster’ was a name that no one could apply to oneself. But the opportunity to call someone else a ‘douchebag’: that offered the would-be hipster a means of self-identification by a name one could say, looking outward. In the douchebag, the hipster had found its Other.”
“The past fascinates me obsessively, I suppose, because it’s such a strange phenomenon. The past was the present at some point, and it was just as boring as the present. What makes it so important? What gives it that luminous, exalted quality where it becomes the past?” John Banville addresses these and many other heady questions in his new novel, The Blue Guitar.
New Directions announced they will publish Irish author Keith Ridgway’s novel, Hawthorn & Child, which was originally published by Granta books in 2012. Look out for the book this September. As a way to entice prospective readers, Tom Roberge does not mince words. “This is absolutely a New Directions book, and we think those of you who’ve fallen in love with Javier Marías or Roberto Bolaño or László Krasznahorkai as much as we did will agree,” Roberge writes.