It’s easy to find essays targeted at writers that argue that rejection isn’t really that bad. In her new book, How to Not Write, Lisa Carver takes the argument a step further, as she says that not only does rejection not hurt you, it “frees you” and “facilitates action.” At The Rumpus, an excerpt from the book.
New this week: Salman Rushdie's much talked about memoir Joseph Anton, T.C. Boyle's San Miguel, The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore, and Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting prequel Skagboys. Also new this week: Paul Elie's Reinventing Bach, Sylvie Simmons's biography I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, and n+1 vet Marco Roth's memoir The Scientists.
In the world of selling books, it's not all about the sentences. At Ploughshares, agent Eric Nelson argues: A fresh plot matters and unusual characters do, too. "The most interesting books have characters who do the opposite of what we’d do... Imagine Hamlet, if Hamlet took decisive action. Horror movies wouldn’t exist at all without the idiot who always suggests they split up."
Máirtín Ó Cadhain is probably the most famous Irish writer you haven’t heard of, if only because he wrote all his masterworks in Irish rather than English. His best novel, Cre na Cille, has a simple and arresting premise: a town in Connemara has a graveyard in which the dead can speak. In The Guardian, Kevin Barry (who we interviewed) reads the novel for the first time.
"The worst days I’ve ever known could be my future under the American Health Care Act." For Catapult, Liz Lazzara writes about her history with mental illness and what might happen if the new healthcare legislation passes the Senate. Pair with Gila Lyons in our pages about madness, medication, and the creative instinct.
One downside to being an internationally acclaimed author is that people care an awful lot about digging into your past. Haruki Murakami has found this out the hard way, as a librarian from Kobe High School (which Murakami attended during his younger years) has made public a list of books checked out by then-budding author. For more “Murakami meets library,” here’s a review of his own The Strange Library.