“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn’t write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What’s scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any time, separates us from the chaos and breakdown they describe.” Our own Janet Potter also reviewed Petrushevskaya’s work this week, and she focused on the romantic hopes of its characters. “What’s remarkable,” Potter writes, “is not the love they find, but the fact that they’re looking for it.”
David Byrne, Talking Heads frontman, sits down with Smithsonian Magazine’s Seth Colter Walls to discuss his life, musical tastes, and his latest book, How Music Works. You can also read an excerpt from the book over here. (Also, you know, just because I have to…)
The Boston Globe profiles Daniel Coquillette, co-author of the first comprehensive history of Harvard Law School. “Deeming the previous attempts lackluster, Coquillette and Bruce Kimball resolved to produce an honest, critical look at Harvard Law School’s founding — and its oftentimes bigoted history.” His book inspired students to take action to retire the school’s crest.
“One thing that could have made this story end differently is if the United States had a significant cultural policy. We have a trade policy – we protect industries we value – and we have an anti-trust policy designed to protect consumers. We have arts and humanities endowments that assist institutions. But our cultural policy is mostly to let culture fend for itself in the open market. It works great, but sometimes it doesn’t.” Salon looks at what Amazon, the Penguin-Random House merger, and the imposition of capitalism to culture might mean for literature at large.
Guernica interviews Meghan Daum about The Little House on the Prairie, finding a home in Los Angeles and the necessity of restructuring the conversation about children. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen‘s review of her essay collection The Unspeakable and Edan Lepucki‘s take on Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids.