In theory, the author of a great novel is invisible to the reader, letting her stories and characters speak for themselves. In practice, however, it can help for an author to make herself known, as explained by Tim Parks in this essay. Sample quote: “We have the impression that if someone ever did find the full story of his life, we would immediately recognize the person we had in mind.”
The Toast is nearing the end of its long, hilarious run. Hurry up and check out the new pieces while you still can — like this helpful guide as to whether or not you are in a Regency-era novel written after the end of the Regency, full of dead giveaways like: “There is lace at your throat and wrists and disdain in your eyes and heart.”
A tipster has pointed us to a mention of what seems to be a new Dave Eggers novel on the back cover of a catalog from a Dutch publisher. the title translates loosely to A Hologram for the King. A description from a Dutch bookselling site (again translated poorly by Google Translate) suggest that the book will follow an American in Saudi Arabia where he tries to sell holographic technology to King Abdullah. We’ve seen no other mentions of this book anywhere, and so far McSweeney’s hasn’t responded to our questions. Anyone out there know more?
RIP Günter Grass, who passed away in a hospital in Lübeck, Germany this morning at the age of 87. Grass, who won the Nobel in 1999, achieved fame upon publication of his debut novel, The Tin Drum. For more on the author’s life, you can read Ranbir Sadhu’s review of his memoir.