Is “literary” fiction just a product of clever marketing? Elizabeth Edmondson thinks it is. At The Guardian, she argues that classically literary authors like Jane Austen had no idea they were writing Literature -- posterity classified their work as such later on. Her essay dovetails nicely with our own Edan Lepucki's argument that literature is a genre.
In spite of the title of her blog post, Lily Meyer doesn’t think Ann Patchett is really an enemy of Zadie Smith. Instead, she thinks the two authors play opposing roles in her life, thanks largely to the different effects their books have on her perceptions. At the Ploughshares blog, she contrasts their novels, using excerpts from White Teeth and Bel Canto. Related: Kevin Charles Redmon’s review of Patchett's novel State of Wonder.
Another posthumously published Roberto Bolaño novel has arrived, The Third Reich. Time to update our Bolaño Syllabus again? Also posthumously published is Michael Crichton's Micro, which was a third finished when he died and was completed using Crichton's notes by Richard Preston. Also new this week is Stephen Sondheim's Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011).
At The New Yorker, Meghan O’Rourke lyrically reviews Anne Carson's latest work Nox: “Grief is paradoxical ... The literature of mourning enacts that dilemma; its solace is mainly in the ritual of remembering the dead and then saying, There is no solace and also, This has been going on a long time.”