Back in the mid-aughts, The New Pornographers were known for having a large number of members with impressive (and exhausting) solo careers. As part of The Rumpus’ Albums of Our Lives feature, Ryan Werner remembers Middle Cyclone by Neko Case.
“If you ask around, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a really bad novel easily enough. I mean a novel by someone who has spent isolated years writing a book they are convinced is a great work of literature. And when you’re reading it you’ll know it’s bad, and you’ll know what bad truly is.” What makes bad writing so bad? Toby Litt at The Guardian investigates.
The Tournament of Books declares a winner! It was down to two in the last round: Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (called “big, messy, flawed, enraging, and engrossing” by C. Max Magee, one of the final round judges) and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad (which “ached with feeling and tension…”) Find out who won at The Morning News!
“There’s no doubt that Life A User’s Manual takes an approach to depicting reality that is very different from the standard realist novel, which we have been conditioned to believe is the best and most-preferred way of representing our world…Though not without its enlightening aspects, this conversation has generally fallen into a simplistic dichotomy, where realist writing is described as giving us the real world of everyday life, and anything other than realist writing is seen as directing its energies toward a vague something that no one cares to define very well.” A look at Oulipo and its legacy from Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, who recently wrote an Oulipo-themed Year in Reading for us.