“This is the odd space these Theory Generation novels inhabit, making them peculiar novels of ideas. Their writers have read enough Theory at a young enough age to be in continued thrall to its power; they do justice to the disorienting shock those texts once had, and perhaps still have. Yet they are old enough to ironize (tenderly or bitterly) that power.” Are you a member of the theory generation?
Elmore Leonard is set to receive the 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which has been awarded annually by the National Book Foundation since 1988. The medal is intended to recognize the achievements of “a person who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work.”
Andrew O’Hagan, whose books have gotten some Booker Prize notice over the years, has a new one out (it’s been out in the UK for a while now) called The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe, which, as the title perhaps suggests, is told in the voice of Monroe’s Scottish maltese poodle called Maf. Also out this week is Tom Clancy’s first new “Jack Ryan” thriller in quite some time, Dead or Alive.
Actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, will be producing a film adaptation of A Moveable Feast, a memoir of Hemingway’s early years as a writer in Paris. The essays feature a colorful cast of literary characters, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas.
On Thursday, the fiction writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, which marks the first time a Chinese writer has won the prestigious award. Lauded for his command of “hallucinatory realism,” Yan (whose pen name translates to “not talking” in Mandarin) has drawn comparisons to Faulkner for the complexity of his fictional settings. Back in 2005, John Updike published his thoughts on the writer.