Paula Fox, celebrated novelist and winner of the 1983 National Book Award (among other honors), died this week. Contributing to our Year in Reading series two years ago, Parul Sehgal said she couldn’t stop rereading Desperate Characters, perhaps Fox’s most popular book for adults. “It’s really a wallop of a book,” Sehgal wrote. “A barbed portrait of a marriage, not to mention a brilliant take on gentrification, white fears of black and brown people, the hostile insularity of the nuclear family, and how power reproduces and how power conceals itself.” (Bonus: Dominic Smith wants to send a scene from that novel into space.)
Before Donal Ryan made the Man Booker Prize Longlist, his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, was rejected 47 times until an intern plucked it out of the slush pile. We bet those 47 publishers are smacking themselves on the forehead right now. Pair with: Research has shown that rejection is like physical pain.