Twenty-five years ago this month, Mary Gaitskill published Bad Behavior, a story collection so accomplished that even Michiko Kakutani thought the book had “radar-perfect detail.” Now, to commemorate the anniversary, The Slant interviews Gaitskill, who discusses her debut and the effect of porn on our culture. (In case you didn’t know, a story in Bad Behavior inspired the movie Secretary.)
Remember that preview for Death to Smoochy, where the voice-over proclaimed, “From the twisted mind of Danny DeVito?” Me neither. But if twisty minds are your thing, you should check out this page from Gay Talese‘s outline for the classic “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” written on a shirt cardboard. (Remember shirt cardboards? Yeah… Me neither.)
It’s a question that puzzles writers of all stripes: why is so much academic writing so terrible? It’s an issue that’s been a lifelong head-scratcher for the linguist Steven Pinker, who set out to answer the question once and for all. His verdict? It has to do with the meaning of “literary style.”
New this week: Voices in the Night by Steven Millhauser; Gutshot by Amelia Gray; The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy; The Turner House by Angela Flournoy; The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma; The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman; Lurid and Cute by Adam Thirlwell; The Given World by Marian Palaia; The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman; Diamond Head by Cecily Wong; and Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, will be producing a film adaptation of A Moveable Feast, a memoir of Hemingway’s early years as a writer in Paris. The essays feature a colorful cast of literary characters, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas.