The nominees for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner fiction award have been announced. The books in the running are Millions Hall of Famer A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Egan profiled at The Millions); The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg (Eisenberg profiled at The Millions); National Book Award winner Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon; Model Home by Eric Puchner (one of our “20 More Under 40“); and Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives by Brad Watson (Brad Watson’s Year in Reading 2009).
What if Petrarch had blurbed The Divine Comedy, or Shakespeare, “author of Tony Award-winning sensation Hamlet,” had reviewed Don Quixote? Tom Rachman imagines these blurbs and more for The Rumpus, and his piece pairs well with our brief history of the blurb.
This week in the New Yorker Jane Hu analyzes the “dispassionate first-person narrators” prominent in works by English-speaking Asian authors and questions whether that makes it easier to identify with the narrator. She uses Chemistry by NBA 5 under 35 honoree Weike Wang as an example along with other recent works. “Against this tradition, there is, perhaps, another emerging, of Asian-Anglophone writers who both play with and thus begin to undo these tropes of Asian impersonality. The novels by Ishiguro, Park, Lin, and Wang all feature first-person narrators who keep their distance—actively denying readers direct interior access. This is true, it’s important to note, even when the characters they write are not themselves Asian.”
American Short Fiction’s managing editor Jess Stoner is reading local newspapers from one state a week and reporting on the big headlines in a better attempt to understand America. As she puts it, “Not to snark, not to make fun of people from unincorporated towns who write letters to the editor, but to share with you a more complicated, less yell-y look at where we are, with the hopes of better understanding where we might be headed.” The first state is Alabama.
David Letterman has possibly topped himself. As told on the show last night, he has been doing some creepy things. Click here for the video of one of the most bizarre, fascinating — and arguably brilliant, from a PR standpoint — mea culpas in recent history.
The first teaser trailer for The Counselor was released today. The film, which is directed by Ridley Scott and written by Cormac McCarthy, will star Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Penélope Cruz among others. As you bide your time before its November release date, treat yourself to a sneak peek of McCarthy’s screenplay over here.