David Denby wonders: After nearly 150 years have passed since its initial publication and countless imitators have blunted its artistic radicalism does Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground still pack a punch? For more contemporary readings of Dostoevsky, see Rob Goodman’s recent article on forensics, The Brothers Karamazov and the death of the courtroom drama.
The e-book subscription service Oyster has recently launched The Oyster Review, and we have reason to be excited: the first issue names our own Emily St. James Mandel‘s Last Night in Montreal “The Book of the Week” and features a look at the novel written by former Millions intern Rachel Hurn.
Shall I compare thee to a wormhole? No, this essay on astrophysics and poetry coupled with a poem for Stephen Hawking is most definitely more lovely. Kalpana Narayanan wrote an essay for The Millions on physics, grief, and Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies that may pique your interest.
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.”
Year in Reading alum Helen Oyeyemi has a new novel on shelves this week, as does New Yorker 20 Under 40 honoree Dinaw Mengestu. Also out: Mount Terminus by David Grand; Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley; Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun and Beauty by Frederick Dillen.
Poet and essayist Adrienne Rich passed way this afternoon at the age of 82, the LA Times confirms. Her influence on writing and activism is immeasurable, and this is a sad day of all of literature. The Poetry Foundation’s short biography of the poet is not to be missed, and nor are her poems “Final Notions,” and “For the Dead.”