To encourage first edition sales of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, his publishers are going to include “a special sheet of stickers designed by five Japanese illustrators.” If that sounds as corny to you as it does to me, then consider the fact that the book likely does not need any real marketing strategy whatsoever: when it came out in Japan, it sold over a million copies per week.
Though Franzen would surely argue (in great excess of 140 characters) to the contrary, the excellent introductory essay from the latest issue of N+1 lauds Twitter for “the very last thing to have been expected from the internet: a renovation of the epigram or aphorism, a revaluation of the literary virtues of terseness and impersonality.”
“Palestinian literature is a literature of exile, a quest for identity in a hostile world, a writing of fractured lives and displaced hopes, a record of a human tragedy.” In the most recent issue of Asymptote Journal, Fakhri Saleh looks at Palestinian writing since 1948. Pair with Words Without Borders’s special Palestine issue, selected and introduced by Nathalie Handal.
The F.B.I. had a massive file on James Baldwin in the fifties and sixties. Among other things, their notes featured passages of surprisingly adept criticism, including an oddly in-depth look at sexuality in his work. You could also read Justin Campbell on race, fatherhood and Baldwin’s fiction.
Back in 2013, Ted Gioia wrote a piece for The Millions about an old sci-fi novel that correctly predicted the future. Since then, he’s embarked on an ambitious project that expands on his interest in sci-fi, exploring how the most radical sci-fi writers of the sixties paved the way for much of modern fiction. As he puts it, “I focus on this era in the history of sci-fi because it laid the groundwork for one of the most important developments in current-day fiction.”
Alice Munro announced her retirement from writing this week. “Perhaps, when you’re my age,” she told a National Post reporter, “you don’t wish to be alone as much as a writer has to be.” Previously the Canadian author announced her retirement in 2006, but that didn’t stop her from publishing two more books – including her latest story collection, Dear Life (Millions review). The uninitiated can get a primer on her entire oeuvre by checking out our comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Alice Munro. See also: “Can Writers Retire? Let Us Count the Ways”
“In Proust, the rhythm, the phrasing, the movement of the sentence, even the grammar—it’s all so complex that it would be almost impossible to repeat anyone else’s work. Because of that I’m all the more aware of the differences, and of how admirable Scott Moncrieff’s work often is.” George Plimpton interviews Richard Howard about translating Remembrance of Things Past, for the Summer 1989 issue of The Paris Review. The interview was reissued to mark Richard Howard’s birthday, who turns eighty-six today.
Last week, I wrote about Caleb Crain’s entry in By Heart, a series at The Atlantic in which prominent writers talk about their favorite passages. Now, & Sons author David Gilbert talks about Moby Dick, which he says is “one of a few books [he’s] dreamed about.”