Back in May, our own Sonya Chung reviewed All That Is, the first novel in 35 years by A Sport and a Pastime author James Salter. For another viewpoint (courtesy of the LRB), check out James Meek’s assessment of the book alongside Salter’s Collected Stories.
“Chekhov’s contemporaries wondered: What sort of Russian writer was he? He had no solution to the ultimate questions. With no ‘general idea’ to teach, wasn’t he more like a talented Frenchman or Englishman born in the wrong place?” (And our own Sonya Chung argues that personal character was in fact his “general idea.”)
“To the pathless wastes, into thin air, with no reviews, no best-seller lists, no college curricula, no National Book Awards or Pulitzer Prizes, no ads, no publicity, not even word of mouth to guide me!” For her new book The Shelf: From LEQ to LES, Phyllis Rose undertook the ultimate stunt in writing-about-reading: an unsorted shelf with no logic at all.
“I’ve been writing about ‘real’ characters and placing them in a shaped, or fictional, world. Writing TransAtlantic, there was never really a plan, at the early stages, to question the line between fiction and nonfiction. I just went on instinct, and then these worlds started to braid.” The Rumpus interviews Colum McCann.
Freedom, The Imperfectionists, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet were some of the biggest books of the year, both literally and among our readers. But which one of them could stop a bullet for you? Electric Lit posts a video of the necessary research.