Penelope Fitzgerald has been getting a lot of attention lately, largely due to Hermione Lee‘s newest biography. In an article for the Paris Review, Bridget Read considers the impact a better understanding of Fitzgerald’s life could have on her modern reputation, and argues that “it is not extraordinary that she became a prize-winning novelist, though you may have heard otherwise. … It is vital to emphasize that Fitzgerald’s novels were not achieved in spite of her domestic life; they were borne directly out of it. Her work is radical in that it suggests that, in fact, a feminine experience, a liminal experience, might be better equipped than a male one to address the contradictions of human existence taken up by the greatest literature.”
Celebrate today’s arrival of John Irving’s new novel Last Night in Twisted River by seeing where it falls on Wikipedia’s John Irving recurring themes matrix. Also new today is Paul Auster’s Invisible and a new collection of Paris Review interviews (including, among others, Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth). Speaking of Roth, his new novel The Humbling came out last week.
I’ve written before about Literary Enemies, a series at the Ploughshares blog in which two writers are shown to have opposing sensibilities. This week, Lily Meyer argues that Flannery O’Connor and Marilynne Robinson are a worthy addition to the series, as the former contracts narrative space and the latter expands it. Sample quote: “It seems to me that Marilynne Robinson’s project, in her books suffused with Protestant belief, has nothing to do with Jesus or with God.”
Tournament of Books fans: The official Tournament of Books bracket has been posted. Along with an introduction to this year’s literary throwdown, readers can get a gorgeous bracket poster, sure to become the decorative centerpiece of any library wall.