Claire Messud and James Wood might be “the First Couple of American Fiction,” but I’d also argue that their dachshund, Myskhin, is “the first Dachshund of American Magazine Profiles.” (Sorry, Felix Shteyngart.)
Following the Irish release of The Guts, the new Roddy Doyle novel that brings back Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments, The Irish Times interviews Doyle, who remembers a time when his writing garnered him death threats. Sample quote: “I drove the guy in the next room demented as I replayed an old tape, repeating the same musical phrase, again and again.”
Author Jim Crace reflects on his final book in Abu Dhabi’s The National: “The thing is, I’ve written an appalling amount of books. … The writing life doesn’t last forever. I am fit and well, and there are plenty of other things to do that I’m excited about, which are incompatible with spending most of my life shut up in a room. So that’s what I’m going to do, write a final book, and that will be it.”
What do you get when you combine Jorge Louis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, Pablo Neruda, and W.H. Auden? You get a list of the losers of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature. The prize was won by the controversial Soviet author Mikhail Sholokhov, who had spoken out against granting the Nobel to Boris Pasternak a few years earlier. Not such bad company on the losing side, there.
In a piece for the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes about a new life of C. K. Scott Moncrieff, the first translator of Proust into English, and about the strange success and beauty his imperfect translation of Remembrance of Things Past achieved. The essay as a whole pairs well with both our own Bill Morris‘s essay against literary biography and Barclay Bram Shoemaker‘s Millions review of Mo Yan‘s Frog and “the trouble with translation.”