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.
“Why do we love our writing teachers so much? I think it’s because they come along when we need them most, when we are young and vulnerable and are tentatively approaching this craft that our culture doesn’t have much respect for, but which we are beginning to love. They have so much power. They could mock us, disregard us, use us to prop themselves up. But our teachers, if they are good, instead do something almost holy, which we never forget: they take us seriously.” George Saunders offers a timeline of his writing education over at The New Yorker.
In the mid-aughts, Jonathan Gottschall pioneered “literary Darwinism,” a new form of analysis which applied evolutionary theory to works of literature. It was part of a wider upheaval in English departments across the country. Now, more than ten years later, we can make an assessment: how’d it work out for Gottschall? The answer: not well. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
Out this week: Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving; Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise by Oscar Hijuelos; Numero Zero by Umberto Eco; The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild; Wherever There Is Light by Peter Golden; City of Clowns by Daniel Alarcón; and The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (who we interviewed today). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.