“What if, instead of simply critiquing Go Set a Watchman’s failure, we tried to analyze it? The new, older work makes more sense if we read it as an attempt to accomplish two tasks: first, to master—unsuccessfully, it turns out—the smart-magazine style that Harper Lee developed in her student journalism; and second, to write in a genre that often relied on the ironic elisions typical of ‘smart style’: the midcentury social-problem novel.” Tom Perrin on Harper Lee and the social novel. Pair with Michael Bourne’s Millions review.
“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.
Nick Flynn‘s memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (reviewed on our site last year) is being adapted into a movie for 2012. Being Flynn will star Paul Dano as Flynn, and his parents will be played by Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore. You can check out a trailer here. Or, if you want to check out what kind of books Flynn likes, you can check out his 2010 entry in our Year In Reading series.