Charles Baxter notes, “If you have read several books by Don DeLillo, sooner or later you will have a Don DeLillo moment.” For Baxter, these are often “trance states,” of which DeLillo’s newest collection, The Angel Esmeralda, contains many.
“According to the biography, Hadden designed the fact-checking system with the thought that putting a male writer and a female researcher together in a quasi-adversarial situation would create a sexual dynamic that could lend energy to the process.” Calvin Trillin’s memories of the Time offices in the early 1960s are at times more Mad Men than Mad Men.
Fans of the French Oulipo movement will know about A Void, the Georges Perec novel written entirely without the use of the letter “e.” What very few readers of any kind know, however, is that in 1939, thirty years before Perec’s novel was published, Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a book in English, Gadsby, that hewed to these same constraints. At The Atlantic, Nikhil Sonnad investigates how this experiment plays out in the book.
Anne Carson, author of Nox (reviewed by Jane Alison last year), has a new book out, Antigonick, in which the translator and poet collaborates with an artist and designer to produce an unconventional translation of Antigone. Unfortunately, Amanda Shubert calls it “the first book of Carson’s where … her scholarly impulse barricades textual meanings. Usually it provides a generous way in.” Yet despite its problems, Shubert notes there are still “moments of brilliance,” and indeed the act of “doing Sophocles as a graphic novel … is kind of ingenious.”
We have a lot of prizes that honor well-crafted first novels. But what about the second novel, which is far more likely to be ignored? Herewith, Dan Kois announces that Slate is teaming up with the Whiting Foundation to produce We Second That, a list of under-recognized second novels from the past five years. You could also read our own Bill Morris on the golden age of the second novel.
“Many of the basic rules around typographic contrast and readability for print or 2D screens change in VR. When type becomes even a little bit more volumetric, the way people perceive it and interact with it changes. The type needs to be rooted in something real, otherwise it gets a little uncanny for the user.” What should typography look like in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality interfaces? The Drum considers (via The Digital Reader). Wonder what a book fetishist might thing of all this…