“All war literature, across the centuries, bears witness to certain eternal truths: the death and chaos encountered, minute by minute; the bonds of love and loyalty among soldiers; the bad dreams and worse anxieties that afflict many of those lucky enough to return home.” In an omnibus review for The New York Times Michiko Kakutani looks at the fiction and journalism being written about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including recent Year in Reading alum and National Book Award winner Phil Klay‘s Redeployment and Dexter Filkins’s The Forever War, “the one book that most fluently and kaleidoscopically captures both the micro and the macro of Iraq.” She also wonders, and attempts to explain, “why has there been no big, symphonic Iraq or Afghanistan novel?”
“Look, if you meet someone with one leg, are you going to sit and revile them for not having the other leg? No, you’re going to be happy that they have the one and praise them for it. And get them thinking about how can we substitute for the one that’s lacking. Which are you going to do?” Robert Thurman quoting the Dalai Lama on embracing the positive in an interview in Guernica, where Thurman speaks about nonviolent resistance, the potential for a demilitarized world, and his friendship with the Dalai Lama.
“Everything on the surface of the world is so chaotic right now, so there’s a desire to access a place that’s more uncharted.” The New York Times profiles author Melissa Broder and her new novel, The Pisces (which was part of our Great 2018 Book Preview).
“We live, in short, with local exceptions, in a dissociated world held together by fragile links of utility and self-promotion underpinned by laws of mutual advantage—a materialist ethos and cosmos that cannot but influence cultural representations and, hence, art, including poetry.” On John Donne and the humanity in art.
“Where does the line between the self-portrait and the selfie fall? Both Kardashian West and Kahlo are masters of the form—suggesting that perhaps there is no clear line at all.” Anyone who puts Frida and Kim together in an essay, as Sarah Murray has for The Rumpus, has our full and enthusiastic support. Also relevant: Alizah Salario‘s piece about the naming of North West.
Late November brings work of another favorite Madrileño to the forefront. The final book of Javier Marías‘s Your Face Tomorrow trilogy, Poison, Shadow, and Farewell, will be published at the end of the month by New Directions. The incomparable Marias will make two New York appearances, a reading at the 92nd St Y (with Paul Auster) and a conversation with Paul Holdengräber at the New York Public Library.