Geoff Dyer endorses Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station , John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead –our own Bill Morris loves it too!–and a generalized aversion toward seafood in his interview with Morten Høi Jensen for Book Forum. While they ostensibly met to talk about Zona–reviewed on The Millions here–it’s perhaps unsurprising that they managed to digress so liberally: “we chatted about his review of Richard Bradford’s Martin Amis: the Biography, and by the end he was giving me advice about which David Markson book I should read first. Our interview, in other words, assumed the shape of a Geoff Dyer book.”
Longtime writers know how hard it can be to tell when a piece is finished. Tolstoy famously tried to revise War and Peace right up to the book’s publication. At the Ploughshares blog, Amy Jo Burns offers tips for evaluating a piece before deciding to give it to someone else.
Crime novelist Sue Grafton passed away earlier this week from cancer. Lit Hub and Vulture both have touching tributes to her and her detective series starring Kinsey Millhone. “Grafton belonged to a cluster of female authors who viewed the private-detective subgenre, previously dominated by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Grafton’s own hero, Ross Macdonald, in desperate need of subverting” and “The annual release of her latest Kinsey Millhone novel was, for generations of devotees, one of the year’s premier literary events. ” Rest in peace Ms. Grafton.
In Wayde Compton’s The Outer Harbour, a series of short stories take the reader from the present day to 2025, exploring a near-future Vancouver in which things grow steadily more surreal. As Emily Oppenheimer writes, it’s clearly a work of speculative fiction, yet the setting resembles our own world in uncanny ways. Sample quote: “Compton achieves the more troubling, yet ultimately more satisfying, goal of portraying the fantastical as something that is very much rooted in what we think we already know about ourselves and our world.”
“A month ago, I touched a lock of Sylvia Plath’s hair.” At Tin House, Emma Komlos-Hrobsky examines the relationship between the late poet and her fans.
This has nothing to do with books, but if you’re like me, it’s important, life-altering, and worthy of constant news coverage: The Girl Scouts are releasing a new cookie for their 100th Anniversary. The lemony “Savannah Smiles” will commemorate the Scouts’ southern roots. Need help tracking down a box? I suggest the Girl Scout Cookie Locator app for your smartphone.