New this week: Awl co-founder Choire Sicha’s debut Very Recent History; Elizabeth Cohen’s new story collection The Hypothetical Girl; Elect H. Mouse State Judge by Nelly Reifler; The Virgins by Pamela Erens (which Erens herself wrote about for us on Friday); The Rathbones by Janice Clark; and Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain. For more on these and other upcoming titles, check out our Great 2013 Second-half Book Preview.
“In your earlier novels you sounded so optimistic, but now your books are tinged with despair. Is this fair to say?” Zadie Smith‘s remarks upon accepting the 2016 Welt Literature Prize on November 10th, and the question of whether “multiculturalism” is a failed experiment. Read our review of Smith’s latest novel, Swing Time, here.
The Chilean government has finally admitted that Pablo Neruda may have been assassinated by the Pinochet regime. The admission was followed by a hasty reminder that a panel of experts is currently investigating the matter and that “no conclusion has been reached.” One curious little sidebar: Augusto Pinochet was allegedly an avid collector of books.
“This particular moonshot fell about a hundred-million books short of the moon.” Over at The Atlantic James Somers has the story of what went wrong with Google’s audacious plan to digitize all the world’s books. And like an interesting time capsule, you might want to read Robin Sloan in our own pages from some years back about a very, very cool book scanner.
I have a short story in the latest issue of Avery, a young literary magazine I’ve written about before. Avery 4 also includes fiction by Hannah Tinti, Kevin Canty, Rumaan Alam, Samar Fitzgerald, Sophie Rosenblum, Scott Garson, Callie Collins, James Iredell, Jessica Breheny, Sean Walsh, Anna Villegas, and Michael Bourdaghs. It’s wonderful to have found my story such a sleek and beautiful home, filled with so much good company.Here’s the opening of my tale, called “A Love to Calm the Body”: My grandmother fell in love with her doctor. She liked the way he scrubbed his hands. He also washed his forearms, held them wet in front of his body before taking them to the towel. My grandmother had a weekly appointment; she’d been diagnosed with Hysteria – an excess of emotion, a deep feminine sadness. This was in 1899, when my grandmother was twenty-three, two years married. My mother was only an idea then, hovering at the edges. I wasn’t anything at all.Want to read more? You can order the issue online here.