“Andre Dubus’s literary superpower is to hit upon that one thing about a character that makes him him, or her her. And in so doing, with subtle, clever details—breadcrumbs on the trail to the nucleus of a character—he makes a reader want to keep going, because she knows exactly who these people are and has to know what happens to them.” On the Selected Stories of Andre Dubus.
“Born Guan Moye, he chose his pen name—“Don’t Talk”—to honor his mother’s caution against talking too much and in sardonic recognition of his failure to heed her warning. Yet I have been struck by his quiet and unassuming presence at literary conferences in Beijing, where he offered kind encouragement in private meetings but evinced a shy persona in public.” On the contradictions of last year’s Nobel laureate, Mo Yan.
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler has a new book on shelves this week, as does William Gibson. Also out: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber; Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah; a new collection of Maeve Binchy’s Irish Times columns; and a hardcover compilation of entries in the NYT’s By the book series. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
The annual Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference wrapped up earlier this week, but, thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can relive the magic: Transcripts and videos of notable speeches are available on the conference’s website, including the concluding talk on the future of the novel by China Mieville.
Largehearted Boy has put out an updated installment of his “Blogs to Read.” This year, he modified his approach to include collectively authored sites, “to better include the collaborative websites I read every day.” The Millions is included as are a number of other excellent sites.
Over at Bloom today, a lively Q&A with Charles McNair, whose Pickett’s Charge was the subject of Kevin Hartnett’s recent review here. In particular, McNair takes us through the harrowing blow by blow of his road to publication, the “sophomore jinx story” from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author.