Why aren’t more people reading Italian literature? Is it due to an English “mistrust of ‘abroad’?” “Linguistic incompetence?” Or is it that “Italy’s not produced much that’s exciting or innovative … for a few hundred years?” Peter Hainsworth, author of Italian Literature: A Very Sort Introduction, investigates.
“Kindness cuts through the rest. And it’s a reminder for us all to reach out. Write that sweet note. Make that loving phone call. Because you never know what will stick.” Here is the follow-up to Julienne Grey’s fantastic New York Times piece “My Mother is Not a Bird,” courtesy of Electric Literature.
“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn’t write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What’s scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any time, separates us from the chaos and breakdown they describe.” Our own Janet Potter also reviewed Petrushevskaya’s work this week, and she focused on the romantic hopes of its characters. “What’s remarkable,” Potter writes, “is not the love they find, but the fact that they’re looking for it.”
“Like reading, love works in roughly the same way every time, but the details of any given case are irreducibly particular, and it’s in the details that everything happens.” Lidija Haas on Elif Batuman’s debut novel, The Idiot. (You could also read our review by Virginia Marshall.)
“I’m always trying to get my friends to forward me emails they’ve sent to other people – to their mom, their boyfriend, their agent – the more mundane the better,” writes Miranda July in the treatment for her latest project, We Think Alone, which counts Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Etgar Keret, and Kirsten Dunst among its participants. “How they comport themselves in email is so intimate, almost obscene — a glimpse of them from their own point of view.”