“After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that… our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book.” Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and “dedicated amnesia” in Mark Twain‘s controversial classic.
New this week stateside is buzzed-about Booker shortlister Room by Emma Donoghue. Also out: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, a new collection by “20 Under 40” lister Yiyun Li; Sigrid Nunez’s post-apocalyptic Salvation City; and a McSweeney’s-published memoir Half a Life by Chang and Eng author Darin Strauss.
Possibly inspired by YiR alum Elizabeth McCracken, who tweeted out tips for applying to MFA programs last week, Zak Smith (the man who painted every single page of Gravity’s Rainbow) tweeted a series of tips for aspiring art critics. Among other advice, he dictates to his tweeps: “If Andy Warhol could have made it, do not write about it.”
Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the famously reclusive Harper Lee, and with good reason – her long-awaited second book, Go Set A Watchman, was released last week, and isn’t quite what readers expected. Over at The Atlantic, Ari N. Schulman takes a slightly different approach to Lee and her work by focusing instead on Maurice Cain, Lee’s longtime agent, friend, and “co-conspirator.”
Recommended Reading: This beautiful essay from The Rumpus on the ambivalence of Jewishness and a whole lot more nuance than this Curiosity can communicate. Here’s an essay by Gabriel Brownstein from The Millions on what it means to be labeled as a Jewish writer.