You may have heard that Jess Row has a new book on shelves. The plot follows a man who undergoes a surgical procedure to change his race. In an interview at Guernica, the author talks to Grace Bello about writing and race, teaching in Hong Kong and what it means to grow up in Baltimore. You could also read the author’s Year in Reading entry.
Out this week: Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen; The Jezebel Remedy by Martin Clark; Second Life by S.J. Watson; The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall; Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos; The Household Spirit by Tod Wodicka; Valley Fever by Katherine Taylor; and Rise by Karen Campbell. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Though traditionally a cultural staple, Irish poetry’s popularity has been on the decline for some time now. The best way to reignite public interest? A contest, of course, and Seamus Heaney just won. His sonnet “When all the others were away at Mass” was voted “Ireland’s best-loved poem written over the past 100 years.”
Wolf Hall, you may have heard, is now a TV show, which you can watch on PBS (in the US) and BBC Two (in the UK). Is it good? According to Sonia Saraiya, the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel is eminently worth watching, “a rare adaptation from book to screen that makes the most of what the visual medium can provide.” You could also read our interview with Mantel.
One of the best parts of last month’s Cullman Center discussion between John Jeremiah Sullivan and Wells Tower was watching JJS carry on the conversation while sipping from a highball glass of whiskey. The essayist’s Southern roots and Irish ancestry of course make him no stranger to potent potables, which is why Danny Nowell’s “John Jeremiah Sullivan” cocktail is so appropriate.
“Setting is often the last piece of the jigsaw. I start somewhere else—with a kind of a premise, a set of relationships, a theme—and I often have a long period when I can’t figure out where the story should be put down. I find myself going location hunting. Not just for a time and place, but also for a genre, if you like.” Kazuo Ishiguro on the Hazlitt podcast. For more things Ishiguro, here is our own Lydia Kiesling’s review of Ishiguro’s latest novel, The Buried Giant.