If you’re looking forward to the next Margaret Atwood novel, you’ll have to wait a century. Atwood is the first author to participate in the Future Library project, in which 100 authors will write 100 original manuscripts to be published 100 years from now. We’re envious of our grandchildren. If you’d like an Atwood fix sooner, her short story collection Stone Mattress: Nine Tales comes out next week.
Nabokov once described himself “as American as April in Arizona,” which is an odd thing to call yourself when you’re a lepidopterist Russian expat. In Nabokov in America, Robert Roper explores why Nabokov felt he was so American, and how his journey to that identity influenced his writing of Lolita. At The Literary Review, Ian Sansom reviews Roper’s book.
A year and a half later, Jessie Gaynor returns to The Paris Review to follow up her much-appreciated “Drunk Texts From Famous Authors” series. (Part one is here.) On tap this time: T.S. Eliot, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Samuel Beckett, Roald Dahl, Jorge Luis Borges, Guillaume Apollinaire, William Blake, and a Flarf poet.
Half a century ago, it would have been inconceivable to think that one day, the clack of typewriter keys would disappear from daily life. The rise of the personal computer, in Sadie Stein’s words, turned an everpresent sound into a “living anachronism.” She reflects on the value of the typewriter in a blog post for The Paris Review Daily. (It might also be a good time to read our own Bill Morris on typewriters and pen pals.)
“You know, it’s dangerous to focus on one person as a way of talking about a big system. But I think Kissinger reveals the system. He’s not singularly responsible for the system—if we expunge Kissinger from history, we still wouldn’t have a Virtuous Republic—but he illuminates it like nobody else.” Greg Grandin discusses his recent release, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, at The New Republic.
“The literature by Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans is out there for anyone who knows how to use Google. But so many here and abroad would rather not know, or when a new Vietnamese author is published, would prefer to say, ‘At last! A voice for the Vietnamese!’ In fact, there are so many voices, for the Vietnamese people are very loud.” Pulitzer Prize winner and Year in Reading alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) writes in The New York Times about the diversity of Vietnamese writing, too often ignored in favor of war narratives and the voices of American veterans. (For an incredible syllabus of books to fill in the gaps, see the middle of his piece.)