Bill Morris, clearly maneuvering for the title of Motor City Poet Laureate, follows up his piece on Detroit’s comeback with a vivid account of Lion legend Alex Karras. “Karras will always be a pink giant with a towel wrapped around his waist,” Morris writes.
"Notice how Malbecco, as Gelosy, lives outside of time, a death-in-life: he can 'never dye, but dying lives.' In other words, embrace a quality entirely—even, I would argue, a less pejorative quality, like hustle—and it overmasters you. You’re doomed." Rowan Ricardo Phillips, basketball columnist for The Paris Review, on Edmund Spenser, hustle, and the New York Knicks.
Sam Sacks takes a look at the “two major acts” in the life of Vasily Grossman, the Jewish-Russian author perhaps best known for his monumental account of the Stalingrad siege, Life and Fate. (Bonus: Life and Fate was picked by Stephen Dodson as his Year in Reading pick back in 2011.)
It’s not often that a writer has an essay collection and a debut novel come out in the space of a few months, but that’s exactly the situation of Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay, whose novel An Untamed State and collection Bad Feminist are both getting published this year. At Bookforum, Margaret Weppler reads An Untamed State, which displays, she writes, “a staggering sense of strength, confidence and integrity."
"Like characters in a somewhat less swashbuckling Jack London novel, these are all characters, and writers, who are grappling with their environments." Our own Lydia Kiesling writes for Salon about the “caucasian, Ivy-educated writers of literary fiction set in Brooklyn” and the novels they're producing, particularly the just-released-yesterday Friendship by Emily Gould.