The success of international authors like Orhan Pamuk, Ma Jian, Haruki Murakami, and Tash Aw – each capable of “transcend[ing] their homelands and emerg[ing] into a planetary system where there work can acquire a universal relevance” – has caught the attention of n+1’s editors. In a lengthy piece from their last issue, they suggest that we should be less concerned with such examples of “World” or “Global Literature,” and instead focused on more diverse, politically-charged and unique international works. “Global Lit tends to accept as given the tastes of an international middlebrow audience; internationalism, by contrast, seeks to create the taste by which it is to be enjoyed,” they argue.
George Dobbs explores the history of some common cliches for The Airship and makes an elegant argument for being aware of overused phrasing: “The worst fiction might never go beyond widely used tropes, but the best fiction starts with an awareness of them.” We agree, and also hope never to read “It was a dark and stormy night…” again.
“Writers teach, not writing per se, but how to engage in writing as a process and a means of perception. The actual work of writing is seldom sublime. It’s a struggle that grows more difficult if we avoid it. Writing is often excruciatingly slow and repetitive. Time, in slipping and sliding, makes itself felt and immediate. Words are the way in, but nothing is guaranteed. What writers or readers can do with language, or understand inside it, depends on what they know—on refining their sensibilities, on writing, revising, waiting, reading, writing, as though living in language were life and death.” Year in Reading alumna Jayne Anne Phillips writes for the Literary Hub about the importance of writing programs. For more on the debate, check out Hannah Gersen’s Millions essay.
Recommended reading: Sara Polsky writes for the New Yorker about “The Detective Novel That Convinced a Generation Richard III Wasn’t Evil.”