Sometimes, in a narrative, it’s necessary to focus on one scene, in one place, for as long as one possibly can. In his new graphic novel, Here, Richard McGuire takes this to an extreme, setting the entirety of the story in one corner of a character’s living room. In the Times, Dwight Garner reviews the new book.
“The idea was that whatever I felt or did resonated in life, caused people pain or happiness. This gave me a feeling of huge responsibility even as a child – to the extent that sometimes I had to block my own feelings or wishes. When I started writing fiction, suddenly I was allowed to do what I wanted.” Talking with Etgar Keret.
Jeff Sharlet traveled to Russia because he “wanted to see what ordinary LGBT life was like in a nation whose leaders have decided that ‘homosexualism’ is a threat to its ‘sexual sovereignty.’” What he found was unsettling and terrifying, but the courage of the LGBT community members he interviewed is also incredibly inspiring. Set aside time to read this one. It’s essential.
Jonathan Franzen’s Kraus Project should be “a match made in heaven,” writes Jacob Mikanowski, because of how it pairs together “the old hater [Karl Kraus] and the new [Franzen], the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of cultural criticism drawn together across the gulf of a century to take on all comers.” Alas, the end result is instead a “strange and rather discordant experience, like receiving a deep tissue massage while being spat on from a great height.” (Bonus: One of the best London Review of Books openers of all time.)
“There are people who believe that readers and writers—at least the right kind of readers and writers—are special snowflakes, existing on a more exalted plane than mere mortals. Book people are educated. They are privileged. They are brave enough to speak out when the emperor shows up naked. They sup on nectar from flowers grown on the sunny slopes of Mount Olympus, harvested by chiton-wearing MFA candidates.” Jennifer Weiner responds to bad Amazon reviews, book blogs, and elitist ” book people” in an essay for The New Republic. We especially enjoy the line about the chitons.
Recommended Reading: Almost a century ago, two students at Oxford wrote back to Ophelia: “Ophelia racked with phantasy, / And Sigismunda, sick with rue — / Ladies, why did ye choose to die / When all the world was made for you?” Find out more about the poets Doreen Wallace and Eleanore Geach at The Toast. We recently wrote about why authors continually turn to Shakespeare.