“Marx the anti-Communist is an unfamiliar figure; but there were undoubtedly times when he shared the view of the liberals of his day and later, in which communism (assuming anything like it could be achieved) would be detrimental to human progress.” Wait, what? The New York Review of Books reviews Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life.
"I couldn’t help but feel that technology had circled back to some of its earliest purposes: broadcasting anti-black violence as widely as possible, as both entertainment and warning." Our own Ismail Muhammad writes for Real Life about the tension between bearing witness and perpetuating paradigms of white supremacy while on the web. And if you haven't yet read it, do spend some time with this review of Nate Marshall's Wild Hundreds, which provides some fortification.
"What those who care about books must appreciate is that the boundaries between canonical and noncanonical have never been ironclad in African-American literature." Clark C. Cooke writes for the LA Review of Books on black crime fiction and the rise of a "new African-American literary scene."
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.
“Through such experiments, [he] seems preoccupied by the need to make this familiar form something different from what we think it is, so that it can more capably capture a reality that has fast been veering into the unreal. It’s not just that the world outside the novel has made this jump, but also that we cannot evade the world’s strangeness when the storytellers, and the characters into which they breathe life, increasingly come from such different perspectives.” On Year in Reading alum Chang-rae Lee’s new novel (which you can buy with a nifty 3D book cover).
Buzzfeed interviews Naomi Alderman author of The Power, a 2016 book receiving heightened attention this year for its timely feminist premise. "In the book, women develop the ability to electrocute people at will, and as the dynamic between the genders shifts after centuries of oppression, women (finally) begin to take control back from men." Why all the newfound attention? Alderman believes that it's due to the subject matter and it being released in the States. 'It’s only just been published in America and some American reviewers have responded to it as if it was written in response to Donald Trump, but in fact no, it was written before that. I think some of the things in the world have not changed and that is why you can mistake it for having been written yesterday.' But she adds: 'I think actually one thing that has really changed is that women are really fucking angry.'"
Rick Gekoski, previously shortlisted for the PEN/Ackerley prize, talks about what it means to be a good literary loser, at Guardian: “And as soon as the winner is announced and it isn't you,” Colm Tóibín observed, “the cameraman just walks away, and you are left there at the table trying to look composed, and you want to die."