How do you describe the life and times of John Horne Burns? He was in turn a military intelligence officer, a schoolteacher, a critical darling after he published The Gallery, a pariah after he published anything else, and a gay man in post-WWII America. In characteristic concision, Ernest Hemingway summed the whole thing up thusly: “There was a fellow who wrote a fine book and then a stinking book about a prep school, and then he just blew himself up.”
Congratulations to Millions staffer Edan Lepucki, who sold her debut novel California to Little, Brown at auction this week. The novel, which Edan refers to as “Novel #2” in her article “What Happens When a Book Doesn’t Sell,” will follow a young married couple grappling with a post-apocalyptic world. Consider us extra relieved given Edan’s proclamation in that article: “And this new book, it will be published. If it doesn’t, well, I’ll just die.”
Humans have been covering paintings, windows, and mirrors after the passing of loved ones for generations. Why do we feel the need to close off our connection to the outside world when we are grieving? Colin Dickey writes about the social, literary, and religious connotations of grief and memory at Hazlitt. At The Millions, Lidia Yuknavitch writes about channeling her grief into art.
It’s rare that you find someone as eclectic as William Boyd. Not only did the British writer’s new play (based on two of Chekhov’s short stories) debut in London this week, his upcoming novel will star none other than James Bond. (If you’re wondering, his friend Daniel Craig is not how he pictures the superspy.)