When a professor of literature wrote Flannery O’Connor for a master key for interpreting her story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” he probably did not expect her particularly unimpressed reply: “Too much interpretation is certainly worse than too little, and where feeling for a story is absent, theory will not supply it.” (Via the ever-excellent Letters of Note.)
In the Times, Jennifer Schuessler reviews Ishmael Beah’s new novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, which takes place in the same war-ravaged setting as the author’s 2007 memoir. Schuessler writes that Beah “delivers a glimpse of the hardships of postwar Sierra Leone along with strong and repeated assurances about the redemptive powers of stories themselves.”
“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.)
What if the zodiac was based not on your birthday but on your favorite book in high school? If it were, and if your favorite book happened to be Lord of the Flies, we could guess that you are currently “researching masters programs and preparing for your fourth Burning Man.”
“João Gilberto Noll frustrates attempts to foresee the plot or to craft stories as they are traditionally understood and written. The series of events that appear in them are as tenuously linked into a broader narrative as those of a dream.” An interview with Noll translator Adam Morris.