Turns out Americans aren’t the only ones who adore snark. The novelist and critic Adam Mars-Jones has won the first Hatchet Job prize from the British website Omnivore for his blistering takedown of Michael Cunningham’s latest novel, By Nightfall. Mars-Jones beat out Geoff Dyer’s slam of Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending. “It isn’t terrible,” Dyer wrote, “it’s just so…average.”
The new issue of The New York Review of Books is out. A highlight, as usual, is Michael Wood, who does a better job than we did with Inherent Vice. But those of us on this side of the pay wall will have to make do with Lorrie Moore‘s intriguing essay on Clarice Lispector.
The New York Times Magazine profiles Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate the Odyssey into English. Her translation is one of our most eagerly anticipated for November. “One way of talking about Wilson’s translation of the “Odyssey” is to say that it makes a sustained campaign against that species of scholarly shortsightedness: finding equivalents in English that allow the terms she is choosing to do the same work as the original words, even if the English words are not, according to a Greek lexicon, ‘correct.'”
Reviews are still in the literary news, and in the midst of all the nicey niceness and plentiful hot air, Alix Ohlin got a real smack down in the Times for her new novel, Inside, and her new collection of short stories Signs and Wonders. Which prompted J. Robert Lennon to consider: How does one even write a good “bad” review?
Read our own Edan Lepucki’s great review of Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids? Then you might want to read Vivian Gornick’s complementary take on the book. In Bookforum, she reads Meghan Daum’s anthology as well as Kate Bolick’s Spinster, placing the two in a broader feminist context.