Jay Rubin, best known as Haruki Murakami’s longtime English translator, is also a novelist in his own right. Last month, he published his debut The Sun Gods, about a Japanese-American couple who meet each other on the eve of World War II. In an interview with The Rumpus, he talks about Murakami, his new book and his interest in Japanese literature. You could also read Ben Dooley on Japanese cell phone novels.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program, the school’s literary magazine – Route Nine – gathered work from over 80 alumni to create a special Alumni Omnibus issue. The collection just went online recently, and it’s tremendous.
Mozambican author Mia Couto has won the 2014 Neustadt Prize. The prize, which awards the recipient $50,000 and is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, recognizes exceptional fiction writers, poets and playwrights from around the world. Pair with Philip Graham’s Millions essay on Couto.
“Shouldn’t we all feel a little embarrassed about the fuss we made over 50 Shades of Grey?” Jessa Crispin writes for the Los Angeles Review of Books about E.L. James’ trilogy and some of the longer responses, including Hard-Core Romance, which we briefly covered a few months ago.
The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.