“[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.”
Year in Reading alumnus Thomas Mallon’s foreword to the new edition of John O’Hara’s 1940 novel Pal Joey is available in The Paris Review Daily. Mallon predicts that “ O’Hara’s moment for a really breakout revival—outdated enough to be exotic—may at last be upon us.”
Get Your War On creator and How to Sharpen Pencils author David Rees was recently interviewed about his new show on the National Geographic channel. The premise behind the new venture is simple: “anything in the world that seems like there’s nothing to learn about, that’s what we want to learn about.”
Recommended Reading: J. M. Tyree’s new story at Guernica. “There’s a man on the bus sitting directly in front of you. He has a small brown spider crawling across his red shirt, near his left shoulder blade.” You could also watch our episode of The Book Report on Our Secret Life in the Movies by Tyree and Michael McGriff.
Now that he’s signed a $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, outfielder Carl Crawford has turned his attention to pursuing his decades-long dream of running an antiquarian bookstore. (context)
Litquake, the West Coast’s largest literary festival, now offers downloadable bi-monthly podcasts via their website and iTunes. On the site presently are episodes with Geoff Dyer, Carolyn Burke, Adam Johnson, Joshua Cohen, and Molly Ringwald, and the group plans to livestream and post events from their upcoming festival (Oct. 5-13) as well.
The good folks at Dorothy labored over a tremendous “Book Map” depicting the settings of some 600 literary works based in London. The books, poems, and essays selected for the map run the gamut from T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
“I take to heart Percival Everett’s point that all writing begins as experiment. Experiments are hypo/theses; wagers; fermentations or useless admixtures; mud pies and blood pies.” Miranda Mellis talks with HTMLGiant’s Christopher Higgs in the next installment of Higgs’s essential “What Is Experimental Literature?” interview series. It’s worth perusing the the back catalog if you missed the first three, with the fabulous Debra Di Blasi, Danielle Dutton, and Bhanu Kapil.