When our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait, he wrote that the book compels you to keep reading because “the more Levé says, the more facts he sets down, the more you realize he hasn’t said.” But what if at the end, you’re meant to reread the book, too? Over at Words Without Borders, Jan Steyn says “the only way to get a better idea of how [these sentences] fit together is to keep reading, and reading, until the end, and then perhaps to read the book again.”
Though Kim Gordon is mostly known for her time in Sonic Youth, she’s also an artist and writer, one who’s racked up art projects and publications over the course of the past forty years. At Full-Stop, Hestia Peppe reviews Is It My Body?, a new collection of Gordon’s essays and other written work. It might also be a good time to read our own Anne K. Yoder on punk and revolutionary nonfiction.
The Chilean government has finally admitted that Pablo Neruda may have been assassinated by the Pinochet regime. The admission was followed by a hasty reminder that a panel of experts is currently investigating the matter and that “no conclusion has been reached.” One curious little sidebar: Augusto Pinochet was allegedly an avid collector of books.
We celebrated Canada Day a bit early here yesterday with the news that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and our review of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. So what is Canadian literature exactly? Atwood offered her definition for The Daily Beast: “It’s too multiple [to give a concise definition], but let us say that the point of view (if the writer is not pretending to be American, which they often are) is never that of someone who feels that their country is an imperial power. Because, in fact, Canada is not an imperial power.” You can also see The Handmaid’s Tale at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet next week.
Lisa Peet at Open Letters Monthly / Likefire blog on Millions contributor Sonya Chung‘s novel Long for This World: “When a novel, particularly a debut novel, is referred to as ‘ambitious,’ there’s usually an implicit ‘but’ present… Chung takes on the dynamics of family—what draws it together and what pulls it apart—through the eyes of a number of players, male and female, old and young, Korean and Korean-American. Both her subject matter and her approach are ambitious, to say the least. The only ‘but’ in my reaction, however, is but she pulls it off—and admirably.” Read the full review.
“What do these two books have in common?…Open each cover and you will only find similarities: They are the same book.” For The Globe and Mail, our own Claire Cameron writes about one book being marketed with two different covers and titles to appeal to different audiences. Pair with: an essay about book covers featuring headless, backless women, and another on the beauty of typewritten book covers.
For years, Jang Jin Sung traveled within Kim Jong-il’s inner circle. As North Korea’s official poet laureate, he was tasked with “writing epic poems for [the] dictator … and overseeing inter-Korean espionage.” But in 2004, fearing a charge of treason, Sung fled the country, becoming one of the nation’s most high-profile defectors. Recently, Sung – who just published his memoir – spoke with Maclean’s about his life, his escape, and literature.
We can’t stop gobbling up Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, but we also won’t stop asking who Elena Ferrante really is. Why do we need to know the author’s true identity, asks Electric Literature? (Our own Michael Schaub revealed that he was Elena Ferrante earlier this year.)