In the NYRB, a new article on Chris Ware, accompanied by an old joke — dreamt up by none other than Gore Vidal — that a hypothetical New York Review of Comic Books might replace its eponymous predecessor. Last week, our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Mr. Ware’s latest book.
Book Three of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle is out this week, as is a new novel by Millions contributor Emma Straub. Also out: The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner; The Untold by Courtney Collins; Above the East China Sea by Sarah Bird; Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson; and a new volume of the Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
80 years ago Samuel Beckett’s publisher rejected his short story “Echo’s Bones” because it gave him the “jim-jams.” The 13,500-word piece on the afterlife was intended for More Pricks Than Kicks until his editor Charles Prentice claimed, “People will shudder and be puzzled and confused; and they won’t be keen on analysing the shudder.” Fortunately, it will finally be published by Faber and Faber on April 17.
After winning a $100,000 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, what do you do for an encore? How about staging “fifty days of lectures, discussions, and debates” about what the future ought to look like? How about enlisting the likes of Laurie Anderson, Samuel Delany, Rachel Kushner, and Norman Rush as ringmasters? How about having the entire thing take place in structures designed by artists José León Cerrillo and Adrián Villar Rojas? Triple Canopy‘s “Speculations” occupies MoMA’s P.S. 1 this summer
When The Beatles made Rubber Soul, the band probably didn’t realize it would inspire some of the greatest contemporary fiction. First, Haruki Murakami named his novel Norwegian Wood. Now, “Drive My Car” inspired his new short story. Bungeishunju published the story today, but English readers are still waiting on the translation. Until then, we can always listen to the album. Pair with: Our essay on the soundtracks behind books.
“Unable to replicate the success of his first novel [The Loom of Youth],” writes Philip Quarles, “[Alec Waugh] did create a lasting impact by being credited with inventing the cocktail party when he shocked guests by serving, instead of afternoon tea, rum swizzles.”