A couple weeks ago, Darcey Steinke wrote an essay for The Millions in which she remembered her friendship with Barry Hannah. She went into detail about the freewheeling energy of his prose. Now, in a review of Steinke’s latest for Bookforum, Lisa Locascio writes about the author’s own talents. “Many authors bounce the sacred and profane against each another; Steinke blasts them together with the intensity of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC),” she writes.
Have some free time today? Might I suggest reading Michael Idov‘s GQ article “The Movie That Ate Itself.” Not convinced? I’ll let the story’s description speak for itself: “Five years ago, a relatively unknown (and unhinged) director began one of the wildest experiments in film history. Armed with total creative control, he invaded a Ukrainian city, marshaled a cast of thousands and thousands, and constructed a totalitarian society in which the cameras are always rolling and the actors never go home.”
China Miéville on apocalyptic London for The New York Times Magazine: “Standing so straight on a raised dais, in so immaculate a uniform that he looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy, the Metropolitan Police Service’s new commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, tells the conference in an avuncular voice about his plan for ‘total policing. ‘ He is enthusiastic but nebulous. Details are vague.”
“In no particular order, except one of hallelujah, here’s a necessarily partial list of some other living Korean American writers whose work or person, or both, I’ve had the great good luck of encountering”….you’ll have to read the interview for the lengthy list as well as the thoughts of four Korean American writers who gathered at the behest of R.O. Kwon to discuss the influence and impact of Alexander Chee. It’s full of beautiful insights from Kwon, Nicole Chung, Alice Sola Kim, and Matthew Salesses such as “Alex said he ‘wanted to plant that flag in the culture,’ and until he said that I don’t know if I’d thought about it as a reason to write. The need to exist in the canon, in the literary world. I found that very powerful, and very brave”. Chee’s newest book is an essay collection, How to Write An Autobiographical Novel, that we eagerly anticipated last month.
Luke Epplin examines the life and legacy of Stan “The Man” Musial, who died last week. In particular Epplin takes issue with how well-intentioned biographers have, over the years, “effectively turned Musial into a cardboard cutout, a bygone era’s one-dimensional paragon of constancy, stability, community fealty, and humility, devoid of the temperamental shadings that humanize public figures.”
Saul Bellow met Jack Ludwig at Bard College in the fifties. The two became friends, and founded a magazine together, called The Noble Savage. Then, not long after the magazine began running, Ludwig started an affair with Bellow’s wife. Here’s the letter Bellow sent him when he found out. You could also read our own Emily St. John Mandel on Bellow’s novel The Bellarosa Connection.
If you’ve ever had a successful friend you secretly envied and maybe even hated, you may be in startlingly good company: a new reading of an old letter between Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot indicates that the “flamboyant misanthrope and the restrained one” shared exactly this kind of frenemyship. Unrelated: a short recording of Eliot reading “The Naming of Cats.”