Apocalyptic literature is nothing new, but it may, according to Grayson Clary, be entering a new era. In Bookforum, he argues that Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands ushers the genre into its mannerist phase. Sample quote: “The Dead Lands is really the stripped, buffed skeleton of a road story, set up to show off—attractively—an enormous quantity of decorating tropes.” You could also read our interview with Percy.
Sean Manning boldly declares Vegas: A Memoir of a Dark Season — John Gregory Dunne’s first novel — to be “the best book about Sin City ever written.” And yes, he knows what you’re thinking. He really does think it’s better than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Every book reviewer has probably, at one point or another, savaged a book a bit too savagely. But if given the opportunity, would you recant? Would you admit that you’d overstepped? Would you feel good about doing so? At an event last month, Snowball’s Chance author John Reed hosted an event at which NBCC critics did exactly that.
Joining the Order of the Phoenix might cost you. The Movoto Real Estate blog priced 12 Grimmauld Place at $3,685,500 (we’re unsure of the price in galleons, gnuts, and sickles.) In the past, the company has estimated prices for Hogwarts and The Burrow. Evidently, you need as much money as J.K. Rowling to live in the wizarding world.
Here are the first lines of the new David Mitchell novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, forthcoming in July: “‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’ In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates. Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.”
Books by Friends, a semi-regular feature at The Atlantic, sees writer James Fallows recommend the works of authors he knows. This week, he praises a book on the history of flight, a prediction for the economy and a jeremiad on American politics by Gary Hart. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on Fallows and American decline.