In his review of Ben Marcus‘s The Flame Alphabet for the LARB, Lee Konstantinou suggests that we have now moved well beyond the death of the author: “In an era where everyone has a novel waiting to come out, authors are legion; it’s the reader who seems, well, dead.” When we interviewed Marcus earlier this year he did not seem particularly mournful. We also reviewed the novel.
Steve Almond treks deeper into familiar territory in the latest issue of The Baffler, wherein the essayist takes on “our lazy embrace of [Jon] Stewart and [Stephen] Colbert,” an undoubtedly strong “testament to our own impoverished comic standards.” Indeed, Almond notes, our satirists and comics today remain “careful never to question the corrupt precepts of the status quo too vigorously.”
“Nobody there but dirty old men who spit tobacco juice and try to look up your skirt.” The city square is one of the biggest architectural differences between the United States and Europe. Over at The Daily Beast, George Packer takes a look at plazas/piazzas and makes a case for why America needs more.
Paris Review editor Lorin Stein was interviewed for Days of Yore. Topics include: the “perverse power” of editing your parents’ work; his rise through the ranks of NYC publishing; and the new story collection, Object Lessons. Elsewhere you can check out his “five favorite short story collections.” And, in case you missed it, be sure to check out our own Bill Morris’s interview with Paris Review deputy editor Sadie Stein (no relation) about the Object Lessons collection as well.
Max Porter’s Death Is the Thing With Feathers is a bizarre, beautiful book. Over at The Literary Hub, he talks death, writing, and musical theater with Catherine Lacey. Porter’s book came highly recommended by Garth Risk Hallberg in his 2015 Year in Reading for The Millions.
The debut issue of Candor magazine is like a Sassy for the intellectual set, rife with wit (Emily Gould and Merisa Meltzer discuss Away We Go), intelligence (writer mother Rachel Zucker and woman writer Sarah Manguso speak candidly about identity, motherhood, women’s prejudices and writing), and women’s rights (Atossa Abrahamian considers the rhetoric of the rape victim).