“Courage is not a word I’d use to describe a lot of today’s fiction. Writing, M.F.A. students are often told, is a messy exploration of the self. The result can be a suffocating narcissism, a lack of interest in the kind of extrapolation and exploration that is necessary to both mathematics and literature.” At Page-Turner, Alexander Nazaryan urges young writers to learn math.
PEN America has announced the longlist for its 2017 Translation Prize, including Deborah Smith for Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (see our review here), Carlos Rojas for Yan Lianke’s The Explosion Chronicles, and Victoria Cribb for Sjón‘s Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was. (We profiled Sjón’s work at length a few years back!) The winner will be announced in February of 2017.
“[T]hat might be what liberal readers needs right now: Not just portraits of the Brexit and Trump-voting domestic Other, but a clearer sense of their own worldview’s limits, blind spots, blunders and internal contradictions.” The New York Times‘s Ross Douthat assembles a “Books for the Trump Era” reading list, including Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, Christopher Lasch‘s The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, and Samuel P. Huntington‘s Who Are We? The Challenges to American National Identity. You can also read our own review of Houellebecq’s latest here.
“Still, it’s difficult to know whether [Shel] Silverstein, who died of a heart attack in 1999, after keeping out of the public eye for more than two decades, meant for us to read the book so conclusively. His biography and body of work suggest a subtler, and, in the end, perhaps an even more troubling, way of looking at it.” Ruth Margalit on The Giving Tree.
Have you ever traveled halfway around the world to the once picturesque town of Ubud in Bali hoping to experience a psychological transformation á la Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. Here’s a look at how great books have ruined some really great places. Our own Nick Moran has written about some good places gone bad, as well.