China Miéville on apocalyptic London for The New York Times Magazine: “Standing so straight on a raised dais, in so immaculate a uniform that he looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy, the Metropolitan Police Service’s new commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, tells the conference in an avuncular voice about his plan for ‘total policing. ‘ He is enthusiastic but nebulous. Details are vague.”
Earlier this month, I wrote about Louis Menand’s recent New Yorker piece about The Life of Saul Bellow, a new biography of the Nobel laureate by Zachary Leader. Now, in the LRB, Andrew O’Hagan reads the book. Sample quote: “Bellow’s community was his subject and his subject was his voice.”
New this week: Paul Auster’s latest, Sunset Park; a new collection of short stories from Stephen King called Full Dark, No Stars; The Memory Hole, a memoir by the historian Tony Judt who recently died from ALS (the essays collected here appeared in recent months in the New York Review of Books); and the latest obligatory obfuscatory presidential memoir Decision Points.
The novel that had Scarlett Johansson filing charges of “fraudulent and illegal exploitation of (her) name” is due out next month in its English-language iteration. The First Thing You See by Grégoire Delacourt is ostensibly about a garage mechanic who ends up falling for a Johansson lookalike. For more on the legality of literature, here’s an essay for The Millions on J.D. Salinger and U.S. copyright.
Iowa City, which is one of six UNESCO Cities of Literature, will honor renowned Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor with a memorial reading this Monday, October 14. Awoonor was among those killed in the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The reading, which will be hosted by Awoonor’s nephew, Kwame Dawes, will take place on the University of Iowa campus, but it will also be open to anybody with an internet connection. People are invited to tune in to the event’s streaming webcast, and also to submit questions for Dawes online to the @UIIWP Twitter account by utilizing the #Awoonor hashtag.
“Hamlet’s famous last words—’The rest is silence’—are less punning than ironic, since both his parting, eloquent gasps and his death play out amidst a growing bassline beat. ‘What warlike noise is this?’ Hamlet asks as the poison takes hold. The drums and commotion signal the arrival of the Norwegian crown prince Fortinbras, who bursts into the quiet of the massacred Danish court. From the beginning of Hamlet, we’re taught to think of sovereignty as a manipulation of sound waves.” What does silence mean in this age of constant digital noise? The Literary Hub takes a look.