“I thought it was going to be a short novel, that it was one person’s story. But I was wrong, because history is always shaping everything.” The New York Times reviews Marlon James‘s latest novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, which we covered in our “Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview.”
"My scant respect for the trade to which I belong (from the most ancient of academicians to the most youthful of libelists) derives from a childhood home in which I grew used to mistreating and misusing almost all the seminal texts from the history of culture." Javier Marias on the dangers of growing up with too many books.
"Language on a daily basis is being recycled. Our students are learning the language of the old and new masters; they are taking them in, mixing their words with the language they know, creating something new. Yet something there remains. Something familiar. Something like a forgotten first kiss. Like a well-known song sung in a different language." Ira Sukrungruang on "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Deep Reading and Mimicry, With an Ending that Totally Plagiarizes Wallace Stevens." After all, who doesn't want to plagiarize Wallace Stevens?
"Yes, it’s easy to laugh at the lawyers. But what if the lawyers were right? For the question that still needs to be answered, I think, is whether the arguments over the novel’s obscenity and obscurity were just temporary historical effects or whether they point to the essence of Joyce’s originality." A longform look at why we should still find Ulysses scandalous.
Still haven’t read our own Edan Lepucki’s Colbert-endorsed novel California? Here’s another review to whet your appetite. In the latest Kenyon Review, John Domini writes that “Lepucki, however, not only upends expectation, but also parses out a few good surprises.”
"What's it like to write a novel in prison?" An interview with Daniel Genis addressing this and similar questions is online at The Airship. For more writing about and after prison, be sure to check out our own interview with Matthew Parker, author of Larceny in My Blood:A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education.