Recommended listening: Marlon James reads an excerpt from his new book, A Brief History of Seven Killings, which was included in our most recent Book Preview. Pair with The New York Time‘s review of the novel.
Gary Indiana posits that “no current literary label appealingly describes the kind of narratives [Renata Adler’s] Speedboat and Pitch Dark are.” This might be true. However in the name of moving forward with discussion, perhaps we can all go with Matthew Spektor’s summation of Adler’s debut novel: “if it’s ‘like’ anything at all, a steeplechase of [dazzling] hurdles could be it.”
For Angelenos: Elif Batuman will be reading from The Possessed tonight at 7:00 at the LAPL Central Library. A conversation with LA Times Books Editor David Ulin follows the reading. More information and reservations here (tickets are free).
Need to know how to tell if someone is or is not dead? How to leave a party gracefully? How to avoid the plague? Luckily the writers of the Middle Ages had a how-to book for everything, even if that advice does include killing bed bugs by “Spread[ing] Gun-powder, beaten small, about the crevices of your bedstead” and then lighting it.
It’s notable when a respected magazine publishes a short story written in the form of a comment thread. It’s even more notable when the author of that story is Bobbie Ann Mason. At The Nervous Breakdown, new fiction from the author of Shiloh and Other Stories.
Abdulrahman Zeitoun has been charged with plotting to kill his wife, her son and another man. The protagonist of Dave Eggers’s bestselling (and Millions Hall of Famer) Zeitoun has had a spate of legal troubles since the book’s 2009 release, most of which related to charges of domestic battery. You can read Eggers’s statement on the matter over here. One has to wonder how these ongoing arrests will affect the forthcoming animated film based on Eggers’s book, which was scheduled for a 2014 premiere.