At Bookforum, Rebecca Donner talks with former Granta editor John Freeman about his new book of interviews, How to Read a Novelist. Freeman says that he enjoys interviewing writers in their homes because it allows him to observe them more closely: “The writer thinks you’re taking notes about what he’s saying, but you’re really writing, ‘His head looks like a lion’s head.’”
An international group of forensic experts studying the poet Pablo Neruda‘s remains, which were ordered exhumed in 2013, says he didn’t die of cancer, as the Nobel laureate’s official cause of death states. The question remains: was he poisoned? And if you want to see how Neruda lived, perhaps you might enjoy this tour of writers’ houses.
From Flavorwire: in 1970 William S. Burroughs teamed up with British cartoonist and painter Malcolm McNeill to “put together what they called a ‘Word/Image novel’ (the term ‘graphic novel’ had not yet been popularized) and shopped it to publishers. After seven years of trying to sell the new genre, Burroughs and McNeill gave up. Next year the work will finally see the light of day.”
The New York Times looks back on Nora Ephron’s career and celebrates her distinct tone. EW has collected some of the best quotes from her books. Ariel Levy recalls her first encounter with Ephron’s “funny, frank, self-effacing but never self-pitying, and utterly intimate” voice.
A pair of debuts are making waves this week. Amy Waldman’s The Submission ponders an alternate present in which a Muslim man is the anonymous winner of the search for a design to build the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero. Ernest Kline’s Player One is a “genre-busting,” pop culture-infused take on the virtual reality future that awaits us.
“On the level of narrative possibility, I was really drawn to the sense of aloneness that rose from so many of these images—the terrifying possibility of being the last person left on earth, or even the last person left in a neighborhood, a swamp, a freeway. That stark haunting irony of living in a world of excess that has eventually collapsed on itself, emptied out.” Guernica interviews Leslie Jamison and Ryan Spencer for their new collaboration, Such Mean Estate.