In his review of Mike Goldsmith’s Discord and Katherine Bouton’s Shouting Won’t Help, Roger Clark Miller (of Mission of Burma) wonders how our world got louder. His analysis? Our use of loud noise as a weapon had something to do with it.
Scaachi Koul’s childhood friend introduced her to Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books candidly: “You’d probably like them,” she said. “They’re really depressing.” Now, in a piece for Buzzfeed, Koul explains how the works have helped her into adulthood. (Bonus: Koul’s forthcoming essay collection, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, made our Great 2017 Book Preview.)
“It only took me 10 years to get the verb tenses right!” Our own Garth Risk Hallberg reflects on the process of updating his debut novella, A Field Guide to the North American Family, recently reissued in a new edition by Knopf. See also: our interview with him on the occasion of the release of his blockbuster City on Fire.
Recommended reading: This great flash fiction piece by Ben Miller over at the Tin House Open Bar. If we’re talking “flash fiction,” then we’d better mention this piece from The Millions on Lydia Davis and everyone’s favorite 140-character medium, Twitter.
Lindsey Drager considers the novella and argues that it is neither a feminine form nor a smaller type of novel. As she puts it, “while other fiction aims outward, the novella curls in, coiling around itself until there’s no distinction between the story’s body and the story’s shell.” Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone’s essay on the art of the novella.
Charles McGrath at The New York Times reviews Per Petterson’s new novel I Curse the River of Time: “…at moments when a lot of American prose seems fizzy and over-rich, the sentences in I Curse the River of Time go down like an eye-watering shot of aquavit.”