A couple months ago, I linked to a new Granta series in which authors select one of their own first sentences and recall how they came to it. This week, Patrick French explains the first sentence of a nonfiction piece titled “After the War” (available in Granta 125) by digging up an old photograph that shows how the Edwardian English were “stitched and machined into a grid of expectations.”
Last week I asked “What about J.T. Leroy?” I was wondering when the Leroy hoaxers were going to come forward. Now, one of them has. Warren St. John of the New York Times got Geoffrey Knoop to come clean on the record. Knoop also said that he didn’t think Laura Albert, who wrote the Leroy books, would ever come forward: “‘For her, it’s very personal,’ he said. ‘It’s not a hoax. It’s a part of her.'”Meanwhile, PopMatters put together a special section about Leroy and James Frey. I enjoyed The Rake’s related comments on why Frey can’t hold a candle to Charles Bukowski.I saw Brokeback Mountain a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. In an excerpt from Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay, Annie Proulx describes what it was like seeing her story on the screen: “I felt that, just as the ancient Egyptians had removed a corpse’s brain through the nostril with a slender hook before mummification, the cast and crew of this film, from the director down, had gotten into my mind and pulled out images.” (via Maud)This Boston Globe column articulates quite precisely how I feel about the strife surrounding the cartoons of Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper.
Believing that high quality TV dramas have supplanted silver screen blockbusters, and now rival novels as “the best way of widely communicating ideas and stories,” Salman Rushdie is set to pen a science fiction series for Showtime. The show will be called “The Next People.” Yet while he’s cited “The Wire” as a source of inspiration, the novelist also backhandedly referred to it as “just a police series.” (A stance he defended on Twitter.) Controversial? Perhaps. But still nothing compared to him calling “Game of Thrones” “very addictive garbage.” Later on, when asked by Vulture to list some of his favorite TV shows, Rushdie curiously counted “Entourage” among them.
J.K. Rowling is one of the most successful writers in the world, but the one person she wanted to see her success never got to — her mother. “She never knew about Harry Potter – I started writing it six months before she died, so that is painful. I wish she’d known,” she said during an interview with BBC Radio 4. She discussed her mother’s death, multiple sclerosis, rugby, and more when she guest edited an edition of “Woman’s Hour.”
There’s a new trailer out for the book Worn Stories, a collection of pieces about clothing and memory edited by Emily Spivack. The contributor list includes, among others, Heidi Julavits, John Hodgman, Greta Gerwig and Marina Abramović. (h/t The Rumpus)
The long-awaited follow-up to Yann Martel’s Booker-winner Life of Pi is out: Beatrice and Virgil. Also new, Elegy for April, a thriller by John Banville alter ego Benjamin Black; David Lipsky’s already much discussed interview with David Foster Wallace, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself; and, apparently hitting shelves ahead of its official release date, a book of philosophy by Marilynne Robinson, Absence of Mind.
Recommended reading: Sara Polsky writes for the New Yorker about “The Detective Novel That Convinced a Generation Richard III Wasn’t Evil.”