Not everyone is a fan of Haruki Murakami’s latest short story, “Drive My Car.” Residents of Nakatonbetsu, Japan claim Murakami sullied its reputation when he suggested that residents throw cigarettes from car windows. The offending passage reads: “Probably this is something everyone in Nakatonbetsu commonly does,” a character thinks when he tosses his lit cigarette out. Hopefully, the smoke clears soon.
“[G]uess what, spending hours of your spare time plowing through some dense and symbol-laden carnival of affectation and ambiguity only makes you resentful of the publishing industry that pushed the book on you in the first place.” Alex Balk at The Awl takes the piss out of recent studies that have suggested reading literary fiction might make us better people. Writer John Vaillant, whom we interviewed last year, might disagree.
You can lose entire days while researching the Voynich Manuscript on the Internet, so maybe you should begin with this overview of the matter – one that asks whether or not the entire thing is just a big hoax.
“And so despite my esteem for the high challenge of writing, for the reach of the writerly life, it’s not something anyone actually wants me to do. The American mind has made that very clear, it has said: ‘Be a specialised something — fill your head with the zeitgeist, with the technical — and we’ll write your ticket.’”
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.