Out this week: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid; South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion; All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg; Ill Will by Dan Chaon; The Accusation by Bandi; The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge; and American Berserk by our own Bill Morris. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
What if H.P. Lovecraft’s work were set in Hollywood instead of New England? At The Toast, Kevin Sharp writes Lovecraftian gossip columns. “Two very famous couples, both well known for their complicated personal lives and grand professional successes (less known, perhaps, for the horrid dark secrets that throb and scream in their antediluvian Hollywood mansions), met for a fateful dinner.”
In the past ten years, we’ve seen many attempts to construct a taxonomy of the hipster, which is why it’s refreshing to come across a novel account of the term’s origins. At The Atlantic, Karen Swallow Prior makes a convincing case that T.S. Eliot, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, invented the “cuffed-trouser urbanite on the hunt for authenticity.”
“But upon learning that the unmarried 60-something Ms. Welty was a fan, the 50-something Macdonald — Ken Millar, to use his real name, as he does in these letters — dashed off a note of thanks. A reply followed within a week.” On a new book of letters between Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald. You could also read Jonathan Clarke on the letters of Willa Cather.
“You have turned to stone. A hairline crack runs along your entire length from crown to toe. Your feet have turned to liquid, and you are melting onto the kitchen floor.” Are you living in an Elena Ferrante novel? Li Sian Goh at The Toast has compiled a helpful list of ways to tell whether or not you might be a character in Ferrante’s final Neapolitan novel, The Story of the Lost Child.