“Well, continuing with my policy of baring my soul, Dwight Garner said something like, the book was like one of those satellite photos of North Korea when I talked about the second marriage. I obviously had very little access to Updike from ‘77 on, really. And I cheated a bit by using Ian McEwan as my spy in the Updike household. First of all, Updike definitely did pull up the drawbridge and retire into his castle and I thought, in a sense, that this should be respected. He had decided on his persona, at that point—the highly professional man of letters. And I thought, why not let him go out with that persona intact?” At The Awl, Elon Green talks with Adam Begley about his new biography of John Updike.
With Naipaul and Theroux making nice, the Times asks Christopher Hitchens what makes for a good literary feud these days: “A really first-rate bust-up must transcend the limits of ‘an entertaining side show’ and involve playing for high moral and intellectual stakes”
When Electric Literature tells me that Jonathan Lee has “unleashed a literary bombshell of a novel,” I set aside my skepticism of the hyperbolic and give it a look. Lee’s High Dive “asks us to look at the plethora of thought and self-indulgence—that beautiful minutia—that flourishes in an unharmed life, and to consider how much generous freedom there is in nonviolence.”
Check out a new essay from Zadie Smith in NYRB on the uncanny, Schopenhauer, and Anomalisa. “That we believe ourselves to be separate from each other, and separate from the apparent objects of our desire, was, for Schopenhauer, the root of our suffering.” For more on Smith, read our review of NW.