“Tracing the journey of a mediocre actor and Holocaust survivor ‘touched by some mysterious higher design’ as he forges and impersonates his way through the war and then back to the city of his birth, the story is part Samuel Beckett and part Isaac Bashevis Singer, with a sudden final bolt of O. Henry. It has the flavour of a morality tale, but what’s most fascinating to me is how difficult it is to derive a moral from it, or rather how easy it is to derive more than one and how openly they stand in conflict with each other.” Kevin Brockmeier extols the fiction of Leandro Sarmatz.
“How easy for the waterfall to turn back / into the river, the long, silent face / holding all that has passed through it / as though untouched…” A new poem from Charif Shanahan at Lit Hub, “Wanting to Be White,” forces the audience “to reconsider poetics and race, distinct yet indivisible in the American grain.” Not a fan of poetry? Check out our list of ten poems for people who hate poetry.
Congrats are in order for Sergio de la Pava, who just won the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for his debut novel, A Naked Singularity. For more on the novel, which holds an illustrious place in our Hall of Fame, check out our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s profile of the author from last year.
Earlier this week, our own Thomas Beckwith reported on the Hermione/Ron scandal. Now, Mallory Ortberg has penned Ron Weasley’s secret diary at The Toast. “I don’t want to die. I’ve never even seen a movie. Seventeen years old and I’ve never seen a movie and I still don’t know what math is.” No wonder why J.K. Rowling wanted Hermione to end up with Harry.
New York Magazine has an excerpt up from Zora Neale Hurston‘s long-lost manuscript, Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo, the first-person account of Cudjo Lewis, the only living survivor of the final slave ship to land in America. Barracoon will finally, 87 years later, be published next week.
Writer James Salter died on Friday. We interviewed him in 2012 and he reflected on memory and on his long life as a writer. He said, “Everything you know, nobody else knows, and everything you imagine or see belongs to you alone. What you write comes out of that, both in the trivial and deepest sense.” Prior to that, in 2010, Sonya Chung wrote about Salter’s legacy and how he finally seemed to be getting his due as more than just “a writer’s writer.”
The history behind the iconic Esquire cover that depicts Andy Warhol trapped in a swirling vortex of tomato soup. Before photoshop! I have a reproduction of this particular cover hanging in my kitchen, and I have to tell you that I can’t bear to eat canned Tomato soup at all anymore.