Most writers, unless they’re lucky enough to have an ideal place in which to work, make do with the best space available. For Colum McCann’s father, the shed in his backyard, which “always smelled damp inside, as if the rain rose up out of the carpet,” sufficed for the fiction he wrote after coming home from work. At Page-Turner, the National Book Award winner and Year in Reading alum remembers his father’s retreat.
“For a man who is making his living as a critic to write about Scott Fitzgerald without mentioning The Great Gatsby just means that he doesn’t know his business. Many people consider The Great Gatsby one of the few classic American novels. I do myself. Obviously such a judgment is debatable.” The New Republic digs up a tribute by John Dos Passos.
One night in 1937, Avies Platt decided to attend a meeting of the Sex Education Society, held at London’s Grafton Galleries. When the meeting was over, she ended up driving none other than W.B. Yeats to the afterparty. In the LRB, she recalls her encounter with greatness.
“A neck cannot be modern. A neck is in time, belongs to time, but is not formed by it. My guess is that even photos of Neanderthal necks would not differ significantly… [They are] in a certain sense, pure nature. Something that grows in a certain place, the way tree trunks grow, or mussels, fungi, moss.” Recommended reading: Karl Ove Knausgaard on the sanctity of bodies, the nature of truth, and the back of the neck. The third volume of Knausgaard’s bestselling My Struggle hit American bookshelves last week. (Check out our own review of Knausgaard’s previous volumes.)
“[T]he term was first recorded in 2012, but its use increased significantly during the federal election this year, especially with the popularity of several websites set up to help voters find polling stations with sausage sizzles.” Australia’s word of the year is “democracy sausage,” reports The Canberra Times. Other national choices, according to Mental Floss: postfaktisch, or “post-truth” in Germany, and the 52-letter-long Bundespraesidentenstichwahlwiederholungsverschiebung, or “postponement of the repeat runoff of the presidential election” in Austria.
“I don’t try to deliver a message, teach, inform or ‘give back’ in my books. I simply want to tell a story. My writing is totally separated from my activism and social service, which are channeled through my Foundation.” Megan Bradshaw interviews Isabel Allende for Asymptote Journal.