It is well known that Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson had one of the more visible falling outs in literary history over the former’s English-language Eugene Onegin translation, and indeed the history of that relationship’s souring is fascinating. But even still, it’s extremely interesting to read Nabokov’s nine-page “Reply” to Wilson’s “adverse criticism.” If nothing else, one has to wonder what Wilson was thinking when he brought a knife to a gun fight.
David Mitchell, when questioned about his language and genre experiments, particularly in Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, responds: "It's a bit like asking a duck billed platypus if it should be considered a mammal or a bird." The Millions also profiled Mitchell, though we never settled either way on the bird/mammal issue.
RIP Robert Stone, who passed away at his home in Key West on Saturday. The author, who won the National Book Award in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers, was 77. You can get a sense of his work by reading Tatjana Soli’s review of his story collection Fun with Problems.
Max Linsky interviewed Riddle of the Labyrinth author Margalit Fox about the other career she’s had for eight years: obituary writing. Fox remarks on how obituaries have grown from being “the bastard stepchild of American journalism” into “the best gig” in the entire industry. Here’s one of my favorite Fox obituaries, by the way.
We submit that beginning a love story with the lede “I never intended to get a tortoise” pretty much guarantees that the reader will read to the end. In Sunday's New York Times Style section, Caroline Leavitt puts our theory to the test. (If you like her essay, you might want to pre-order her new novel.)
“To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to the screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.” Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is adapting James Baldwin's 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk for the screen, says The Hollywood Reporter. (He's also bringing Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad to visual life as well.)