The Morning News has just launched a series on contemporary Russian literature. For this week’s installment Anna Starobinets provides an exerpt of her debut manuscript, An Awkward Age, and chats about her writing with Elizabeth Kiem. In the New Yorker, Sally McGrane profiles Boris Akunin, Russian writer of potboilers and political dissident.
“Well, continuing with my policy of baring my soul, Dwight Garner said something like, the book was like one of those satellite photos of North Korea when I talked about the second marriage. I obviously had very little access to Updike from ‘77 on, really. And I cheated a bit by using Ian McEwan as my spy in the Updike household. First of all, Updike definitely did pull up the drawbridge and retire into his castle and I thought, in a sense, that this should be respected. He had decided on his persona, at that point—the highly professional man of letters. And I thought, why not let him go out with that persona intact?” At The Awl, Elon Green talks with Adam Begley about his new biography of John Updike.
How The Daily Show may have an advantage over mainstream news, by virtue of its refusual to take “View from Nowhere.” Conor Friedersdorf makes the compelling case that comedy writers, with their eyes rooting out the absurd in the world, can put give the news some much needed perspective.
Geoff Dyer is fond of taking potshots at literary academics. He devotes considerable time in one of his novels to a professor whose speech at a conference goes off the rails. Which is why it’s odd that, in mid-July, the author showed up at a conference devoted to — what else? — his own work. (It’s apropos to point out here that our own Mark O’Connell wrote a great essay for Slate about Dyer.)
Writing in The Guardian, Colm Tóibín explores the “inspiring, rivalrous, Oedipal” relationships between authors and their parents. The article’s been adapted from his forthcoming book, New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families
Legally sampling songs on a hit record is astoundingly expensive. As Kembrew McLeod and Peter DiCola note in Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Licensing, the Beastie Boys would have lost $19.8 million dollars because of Paul’s Boutique. (via BoingBoing)