On Flannery O’ Connor’s practice of making visual art, and how the habits of an artist informed her sensibility as a writer.
"All I know was that in Paris I felt haunted, like a double exposure photograph that shows a figure and then a milky specter behind. I felt stalked by a creature of my own making, a monster that was both my mother and myself." Darcey Steinke writes about Paris, loss, and monsters in an essay for Granta.
On the New Yorker’s Elements blog, our own Mark O’Connell writes about Cloak, a new app which lets you avoid people you don’t want to bump into by accident. Despite the fact that Mark can see himself using the app, he finds it “ultimately troubling,” in large part because it strikes him as “such a lonely thing to have achieved through technological control of our social environments.” (Speaking of apps, have you read Mark’s epic e-book?)
Recommended Reading: Bernadette Murphy on how knitting can be instructive for writers.
As Alden Jones puts it, a “sex-death-art trifecta” is the core of The Small Backs of Children, the new book by Lidia Yuknavitch. At The Rumpus, he talks with the author about the novel, which centers on a war photographer who takes an iconic photo in Eastern Europe. You could also read the author’s Millions essay from last week.
"The immigrant who arrives too late in life to adapt to his new country, but too early to survive on nostalgia for the old country, has to create a third, imagined country to live in." Peter Pomerantsev writes for the London Review of Books about Brighton Beach, Russian immigrants and a "self-made America." Pair with Matthew Wolfson's review of Yelena Akhtiorskaya's novel of Brighton Beach and Odessa, Panic in a Suitcase.
There are plenty of new books to this week to fill that post-election void: Both Flesh and Not: Essays, a posthumously published collection from David Foster Wallace; Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior; Prosperous Friends by Christine Schutt; Magnificence by Lydia Millet; and These Things Happen, a debut by longtime TV writer Richard Kramer. From the indies, we have The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diana Wagman and Keyhole Factory by William Gillespie. Also out are Philip Pullman's new version of Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm; Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks; and a big new Michael Jackson biography by a former Rolling Stone editor.