Diehard fans of Herzog, Dangling Man and other great books by Saul Bellow will be interested to learn that the author, as revealed in a new memoir by his son, once asked himself the following question: “Was I a man or a jerk?”
Some world literature links: Sign and Sight offers the best introduction to Herta Müller I’ve been able to find…The Complete Review gets the ball rolling on Roberto Bolaño’s (very) early novel Monsieur Pain, forthcoming from New Directions…Ingo Schulze, author of the quietly astonishing New Lives and the forthcoming One More Story, talks to The Toronto Star (via)…The NBCC features Yu Hua‘s Brothers…Claudio Magris is crowned the king of Frankfurt…Maud Newton hails Juan Gabriel Vásquez‘s “inventive and intricately plotted” The Informers…The Brooklyn Rail and Transcript both offer handsome online digests of short stories from around the world.
John Jeremiah Sullivan‘s NY Times essay “You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!” was a big hit last June. Next October, FSG will publish Pulphead, his second collection of essays. To tide you over until then, you can listen to The Paris Review‘s Southern Editor read an excerpt from his Disney piece.
Some videos just make you want to write. Joe Capra‘s stunning timelapse video of Iceland’s “midnight sun” is one of them.
“He combed through the sahaflar, the second-hand bookshops that line the streets around the Grand Bazaar, their dusty wares stacked on haphazard tables. He sat by the New Mosque, drinking tea out of tulip-shaped cups, playing backgammon, and watching the fishermen’s wooden boats launch into the dirty waters of the Golden Horn.” For Public Books, Suzy Hansen writes about James Baldwin‘s less-well-documented time in Istanbul. Pair with this piece from our pages about the famed author, race, and fatherhood.