At The New Republic, Andrew Wylie talks about how he made millions off strictly “highbrow” fiction, a category which (for those who are curious) does not include the works of James Michener and the late Tom Clancy. Wylie — whose clients include Philip Roth, Martin Amis and Mary Gaitskill — suggests that a modern literary agency “needs to be able to expand infinitely, like a Borgesian library.”
It’s the kind of niggling question that drives a writer mad: is it best to edit a piece after you finish a draft, or is it better to edit while you write? At Electric Lit, Lincoln Michel argues for the latter, on the grounds that it lets writers fix endemic problems before it’s too late. You could also read Lincoln’s 2010 Millions review of the movie Avatar.
New York Times travel editor Monica Drake recounts visiting Antigua after reading Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place—a sharp critique of tourism and the colonialist narrative around the island. As she puts it, “For all the drama of its history, […] the beauty of the place, the very thing that bewitches its tourists, renders it a time capsule to its residents.”
“Learning to really listen to it and learning to kind of embrace it, rather than running away from it, was a very useful thing to do,” says Hari Kunzru of the sounds of New York City’s streets. The sirens, horns, and arguments are the inspiration for his new “multimedia book,” Twice Upon a Time: Listening to New York. (Bonus: Kunzru has participated in our Year in Reading series two times in the past.)
“It is now, at this precise moment when I become woefully aware of the cruel transience of this seasonal offering, rarely lingering beyond the Marigold blooms of latter March, and at once I am lost amidst a magnificent vision, one in which our hallowed Saint Patrick himself is riding shotgun alongside me in this very Camry.” In which James Joyce orders a shamrock milkshake.
“Motherhood has always been contested terrain, but for the last decade or so it’s been a virtual battleground; every year, almost like clockwork, we have another flare-up in the so-called Mommy Wars, with another Tiger Mom or Get-Back-To-Work-er or Can’t Have It all-er launching a grenade as prelude to a book tour. And as much as I have an obvious stake in these battles as a mother and a feminist, I’ve come to find them depressingly repetitive, all sound and fury but offering little in terms of the policies that might actually affect our decisions.” At the LARB, Stephanie Bower gives her take on Why Have Kids?, Jessica Valenti’s new treatise on parenting.