By now the overlap between writers and drug addicts is pretty well-known, but it wasn’t so well-known back when Thomas De Quincey wrote Confessions of an English Opium Eater. In the essay, De Quincey admitted that not only was he addicted to opium, he suspected he’d ingested more of the substance than any other man save Coleridge. (Incidentally, we reviewed a novel by Year in Reading alumnus Jeet Thayil that largely took place in an opium den.)
J.K. Rowling loves Robert F. Kennedy. She revealed on her website that she chose the pseudonym Robert Galbraith after Kennedy and her childhood alias, Ella Galbraith. “I can only hope all the real Robert Galbraiths out there will be as forgiving as the real Harry Potters have been. I must say, I don’t think their plight is quite as embarrassing,” she wrote.
The National Rifle Association is featuring a series of reimagined fairy tales on their website. The only difference? Way more guns. In the debut story, Hansel and Gretel don’t bemoan their lack of food since they had been taught from birth to hunt with guns for sustenance. No, it’s not yet April Fools’ Day.
“All of a sudden, things that should be banal, like a person’s face—the fact that a person has a face—becomes extremely disorienting. In these moments, I think it’s important to keep those strange commas.” In an illuminating interview for Asymptote, Year in Reading alumna Katrina Dodson talks about the thrills and challenges in translating The Complete Stories of Clarice Lispector. Pair with Magdalena Edwards’s Millions review of the collection.
Gary Indiana posits that “no current literary label appealingly describes the kind of narratives [Renata Adler’s] Speedboat and Pitch Dark are.” This might be true. However in the name of moving forward with discussion, perhaps we can all go with Matthew Spektor’s summation of Adler’s debut novel: “if it’s ‘like’ anything at all, a steeplechase of [dazzling] hurdles could be it.”