Here’s an odd scenario straight out of a Thomas Pynchon plotline: in the course of fact-checking a review of Pynchon’s new novel, Alex Yuhas found himself emailing a person known only as “The Great Quail.”
“Skipping or skimming parts of a narrative should not only be expected but encouraged, particularly if an author is writing without clarity or purpose or showing off. Life’s too short to slog through some smarty-pants attempt to demonstrate a mastery of mechanical engineering or botany.” Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes face off for The New York Times Bookends column about whether there are right and wrong ways to read a book.
In TNR, Ruth Franklin attempts to debunk the “strangely antiquated definition of American writing” posited in Dalkey’s Best European Fiction anthology. (via)
New this week: The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit, The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth Silver, Bobcat by Rebecca Lee, and a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan al-Shaykh, with a foreword by Mary Gaitskill.