“People used to wish that life could be as it is in books—that it could have the beauty, drama, and shapeliness that writers gave it. Today, by contrast, we hope desperately that life is not really like our writers portray it; in other words, we hope that writers are not representative men and women, but unfit beings whose perceptions are filtered through their unhealth. It is necessary to hope this, because if life were as it appears in our literature it would be unlivable.” Adam Kirsch explores the downside of literary nostalgia.
A couple of weeks ago, I pointed readers to the trailer for Olive Kitteridge, the new HBO show based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by Year in Reading alum Elizabeth Strout. In this week’s New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum sizes up the new series, describing it as a case study in bringing a work of fiction to the screen. “In the course of four hours, the miniseries casts a West Coast spell on scenes of Yankee repression,” she writes.