Last semester, at UC Riverside, the novelist Susan Straight began the class “Mixed-Race Literature and the American Experience” with a simple question: “How many of you are often asked, What are you?” In an essay about the class, she relates what they learned, which includes the observation that hair is weirdly important in America. (Related: The Millions published an essay by Straight on Toni Morrison’s Sula.)
The London Review of Books sought out Will Self to help create “a digital literary work that pushed the boundaries of the literary essay well beyond its traditional form.” The effort, they hoped, would “loosen and enhance the structure of the essay, changing the way the reader interacts with the text.” Well, consider that a success. Behold, “Kafka’s Wound” in all its multimedia glory. [Bonus: Millions readers in the UK can catch Will Self's discussion of the digital essay on September 6th.]
Tom Wolfe is back with his new novel Back to Blood (our review) and Jami Attenberg's The Middlesteins is out. Lemony Snicket is kicking off a new series for kids, illustrated by artist Seth. Finally, do you want to know everything about everything? The Onion is looking out for you with its new Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia Of Existing Information.
After more than sixty years, Antonio di Benedetto has had his book Zama finally translated into English. The novel, which kicks off in the 1790s, depicts a Spanish administrator named Don Diego de Zama, whose viceroy dispatches him to a town in the scrublands of Paraguay. In the latest New Yorker, Benjamin Kunkel gives his take.
"So much of recovery is a fight against exceptionalism—that necessary act of saying, What I’ve lived has been lived before, will be lived again, is nothing special but still holds meaning, still holds truth." Chris Kraus interviews Leslie Jamison about recovery, memoir, and her forthcoming title, The Recovering, for The Paris Review. Pair with: our interview with Jamison.