The Canadian writer Mavis Gallant passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 91. A frequent New Yorker contributor, Gallant published two novels and ten volumes of short fiction in her lifetime, one of which, Home Truths, won the Governor General’s Award. The Globe and Mail’s obituary describes her as having “a journalist’s nose, a cinematographer’s eye and a novelist’s imagination.” (Andrew Saikali wrote about Gallant for The Millions back in 2008.)
I have an essay in the September issue of Poets & Writers on “The Social Value of MFA Programs.” Sadly, P&W deems the piece too valuable to give away for free on the Web, so if you want to read it, you’ll have to go to your local newsstand and buy a copy.
Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman’s piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it’s worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
South Floridian bandits, fishermen, drunks, madmen, and college students are mourning the imminent demise of beloved Miami institution, Jimbo’s. The site of the “Who Lets The Dogs Out” video, the Flipper movie starring Elijah Wood, and a couple iterations of the now-defunct Swampstomp music festival, Jimbo’s defied summation. Put simply, you had to see it yourself. The way I always explained it to my friends up North was by telling them it was like The Rum Diary met CBGB’s and Will Smith’s “Miami” video. Still, even that’s insufficient, so I recommend reading the Miami New Times‘ epic chronicle of the place’s history.