“It’s funny how as an author, I rarely notice what seems so obvious to other people: that I have obsessions and will write about them endlessly. Sad, lonely, self-loathing guy? Mid-20th and 21st century literature loves to write about that guy, and so do I. Reckless, self-aggrandizing, narcissist man? I like to write about him, too, though of course they are the same person. A person whose energy compels people to orbit him—family, friends, underlings, women.” The Rumpus talks with Woke Up Lonely author Fiona Maazel (who’s written for The Millions).
In the LA Times, Jim Ruland reviews Middle C, the new book by Year in Reading alumnus William H. Gass. For another take on the novel, go read “best-read man in America” Michael Dirda in the Washington Post, or else check out Greg Gerke on the author’s Life Sentences.
Amidst all the controversy surrounding Go Set a Watchman, one question that gets left out is how realistic, exactly, the book is in its depiction of its setting. At Salon, Scott Timberg sits down with Professor Angela Thorburg, who makes a case that regardless of its literary qualities, Watchman is “a very accurate perspective of what’s going on here in the South.”
“The idea is to bring about a change in lifestyle of the young denizens of the city.” The Times of India reports that the Bhopal Runners Association is converting old parks around the city into green reading spaces with seating, wi-fi, and literary events. Less bookcentric but still a feat of public planning (and gentrification): New York City’s High Line, which our own Michael Borne wrote about when it first opened.
Does modern China need its own literary sub-genre? On trying to understand China’s “ultra-unreal” reality: “If Magic Realism was the way in which Latin American authors presented their view of their reality, then Ultra-Unreal Realism should be our name for the literature through which the Chinese regard their reality. The Chinese word ‘chaohuan’ (ultra-unreal) is something of a play on the word ‘mohuan’ (magic), as in ‘mohuan xianshizhuyi’ (magic realism)— ‘mohuan’ is ‘magical unreal,’ and ‘chaohuan’ is ‘surpassing the unreal.’”