“How could we possibly trust any creature that comes into the world wearing such a caul of ambiguity? That’s “essayists.” Four hundred and four years later, they continue to flourish.” John Jeremiah Sullivan offers a loose history of the essay, essayists, and all their many contradictions in a piece for The New Yorker.
New this week: Loitering by Charles d’Ambrosio; The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck; Windows on the World, a collection of Paris Review essays illustrated by Matteo Pericoli (Karl Ove Knausgaard’s contribution is excerpted here); The Heart Has Its Reasons by María Dueñas; A Woman Without a Country by Eavan Boland; Love Poems by Bertolt Brecht; and Family Furnishings, a new selection of short stories by Nobel laureate Alice Munro. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
“In Go Home! — a collection that feels particularly timely in the midst of attacks on immigrant families and communities — Asian diasporic writers are both thoughtful and generous in their reflections about who they are, where they have been, and where they belong.” For Shondaland, Nicole Chung interviewed Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, the anthology’s editor, and a few contributors (including Alexander Chee, Karissa Chen, T Kira Madden, and Esmé Weijun Wang) about what home means to them. Pair with: our review of Chee’s The Queen of the Night and Wang’s 2016 Year in Reading entry.
In addition to its overt references to Robert Chambers’s The King in Yellow, HBO’s breakout hit, True Detective, seems also to draw from the work of a self-published poet named Dennis McHale. Or is it the other way around? (Bonus: Lincoln Michel drew up a reading list of southern gothic books similar in tone to the HBO series.)
“Most of all, they don’t tell you that fear, to reverse a phrase from C. S. Lewis, will feel so like grief, and so you begin to mourn what you have not yet lost, because mourning prematurely is the only way to protect yourself from hope.” For Catapult, Laura Turner writes about her trio of miscarriages and the hope she lost (and found) along the way. (Turner is a 2017 Year in Reading alum).