Leave it to Roxane Gay to come up with a novel format for an essay on the feminist novel. In the new issue of Dissent, she presents eleven theses on the topic, including references to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Sample quote: “Not every novel that concerns itself with the lives of women is a feminist novel. Fifty Shades of Grey is not a feminist novel.” You could also read our own Edan Lepucki on the problem with feminist anthems.
New this week: Paul Auster's latest, Sunset Park; a new collection of short stories from Stephen King called Full Dark, No Stars; The Memory Hole, a memoir by the historian Tony Judt who recently died from ALS (the essays collected here appeared in recent months in the New York Review of Books); and the latest obligatory obfuscatory presidential memoir Decision Points.
The Welsh government is hoping that Dylan Thomas can do for Swansea what James Joyce has done for Dublin. This year, officials have announced that £750,000 will be made available for the DT 100 Festival, which will celebrate the centennial of the poet’s birth. Aside from boosting tourism, however, the festival’s organizers also hope to “raise the status of Thomas,” who many feel has “[been] neglected [and had] his work … overshadowed by a conception of the man as a drunkard, scrounger and womaniser.”
Ratik Asokan reviews Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in San Salvador by Horacio Castellanos Moya, a story about dealing with the violence that permeates El Salvador’s culture. “Fiction, unlike journalism, has allowed Moya to express the frustration and existential terror of living in a society thoroughly permeated by violence.” Pair with our reviews of Moya’s Tyrant Memory and The Dream of My Return.
Author Terry Pratchett's archives have been destroyed by steamroller, according to The New York Times. The hard drive containing all of his unpublished work was, per his wishes, run over by a close friend. We ran this remembrance on the occasion of his passing two years ago.
At the Ploughshares blog, Erinrose Mager interviews Year in Reading alum Rick Moody, who talks about his classes at NYU and why he prefers “the mentorship model” of teaching writing over the workshop model. (Related: our founder C. Max Magee reviewed Moody’s book The Diviners back in 2006).
For Public Books, Matthew Clair considers authoritative black knowledge in intellectual practices and “the logic of racial authenticity,” which “stipulates both that black intellectuals have a particular responsibility to represent, in both senses of that word, ‘their’ people, and that, as racial insiders, they are uniquely capable of doing so.”