“Chekhov’s contemporaries wondered: What sort of Russian writer was he? He had no solution to the ultimate questions. With no ‘general idea’ to teach, wasn’t he more like a talented Frenchman or Englishman born in the wrong place?” (And our own Sonya Chung argues that personal character was in fact his “general idea.”)
“I’ve been spending a lot of time with my husband’s American cousins, who have a five-year-old daughter. She is fascinated and confused by my ‘Briddish’ accent, which she seems to think at points is something I’m putting on. She invented a game where she’ll point at an object in the room and I have to say the word for it—Carpet! Dump truck!—in my best American accent (which is dreadful, by the way). This had her in stitches. When the laughter had died down, she turned to her parents, suddenly contemplative, and said, ‘Isn’t it amazing that Sarah knows a few words in our language?’” Lily Blacksell interviews T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Sarah Howe on how being in the U.S. changes her perception of language, writing in the first-person, and “authenticity.”
Would you like your man-steak with green peppercorn sauce? At the LRB, Jenny Diski on Catalin Avramescu‘s Intellectual History of Cannibalism.
“What’s the kindest thing you almost did?” You’ll find this sentence by Jonathan Safran Foer on a Chipotle cup next time you eat a burrito there. The fast food restaurant will feature the short stories five authors, including Foer, Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Michael Lewis, on its cups, and unlike guacamole, they won’t cost extra. Unsurprisingly, Cormac McCarthy didn’t make a cup.
Last week, I told you about Rebecca Solnit’s essay “Eighty Books No Woman Should Read,” which is a tongue-in-cheek riff on Esquire’s “80 Books Every Man Must Read” list. Now, here’s a fascinating rebuttal from Electric Literature in which Sigal Samuel ponders what might be gained by reading sexist old white guys.
“We lived in the Midlands, and when I moved to Dublin for university Frank liked to call me up and talk to me about my late mother, whom he informed me was ‘no saint’.” Sally Rooney’s short story from the New Irish Writing issue of Granta is now available on the Literary Hub website.