The international popularity and utility of English doesn’t show any signs of slowing, but what will the language look like after a few generations of increasing usage? The Economist gives a brief answer, but it doesn’t address the ways English is or will be used by different people to tell their stories. Damian Fowler addresses this when he asks, “[W]hat does it mean to have an American point of view,” or to call a book American in tone, as opposed to British or just English-language? In a blog post for The Paris Review, Fowler offers an answer: American novels are characterized by “a spare, sure sense of narrative, reflected in a colloquial voice, free of affectation.”
Hunter S. Thompson was a man whose reputation preceded him. Let's honor his legacy the way he probably would have wanted–by taking a look back at a list of the crimes he committed in the Big Apple. If you don't know anything about Hunter S. Thompson, this job application that he sent to the Vancouver Sun in 1958 should get you started.
Out this week: Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang; Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta; The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet; New People by Danzy Senna; Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah; and White Plains by Gordon Lish. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
The novel that had Scarlett Johansson filing charges of “fraudulent and illegal exploitation of (her) name” is due out next month in its English-language iteration. The First Thing You See by Grégoire Delacourt is ostensibly about a garage mechanic who ends up falling for a Johansson lookalike. For more on the legality of literature, here’s an essay for The Millions on J.D. Salinger and U.S. copyright.
"People are deeply uncomfortable with the idea that the characters they love and regard as people, real people, were made up by someone, especially if that someone is a woman." Cassandra Clare, the author who began by writing fanfiction and went on to pen the wildly successful The Mortal Instruments series, talks about her work with Penelope Green.