If you’ve finished reading David Mitchell’s latest short story – which was published on Twitter last week and then ran on our site five days ago – you’ll appreciate Ian Crouch’s look at its greater meaning, and what it could mean for Twitter as a whole.
Andrew O'Hagan, whose books have gotten some Booker Prize notice over the years, has a new one out (it's been out in the UK for a while now) called The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe, which, as the title perhaps suggests, is told in the voice of Monroe's Scottish maltese poodle called Maf. Also out this week is Tom Clancy's first new "Jack Ryan" thriller in quite some time, Dead or Alive.
New Vessel Press is a new publisher specializing in the translation of foreign literature into the English language. Translator Ross Uffberg and journalist Michael Z. Wise started it last year. Next month, they’ll publish their first book, The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal, and they have plans for quite a few more as well.
“The past fascinates me obsessively, I suppose, because it’s such a strange phenomenon. The past was the present at some point, and it was just as boring as the present. What makes it so important? What gives it that luminous, exalted quality where it becomes the past?” John Banville addresses these and many other heady questions in his new novel, The Blue Guitar.
"It is now, at this precise moment when I become woefully aware of the cruel transience of this seasonal offering, rarely lingering beyond the Marigold blooms of latter March, and at once I am lost amidst a magnificent vision, one in which our hallowed Saint Patrick himself is riding shotgun alongside me in this very Camry." In which James Joyce orders a shamrock milkshake.
"Soldiers eat beef teriyaki and chicken cavatelli M.R.E.s in a war zone where 'armored ruins' line the roads, 'charred corpses scattered in among the blasted metal'; and sniper fire and I.E.D. ambushes are a constant threat: 'the chaos out there, the crazy Arabic writing and abu-jabba jabber, the lawless traffic, the hidden danger and buzz and stray bullets and death looming from every overpass.'" Michiko Kakutani reviews Roy Scranton's War Porn for The New York Times. Here's an old review from The Millions that shares a bit of Scranton's lingering sentiment regarding the war.
Did your MFA program offer impractical courses like "Problems in Modern Fiction"? At the Ploughshares blog, Rebecca Makkai offers some suggestions for more useful classes, such as "Introduction to Despair," "Pretending You’re Talking to Terry Gross When You’re Alone in the Car," and "The Art of the Flirty Author Photo Grimace." Pair with: Our interview with Makkai.