Azar Nafisi thinks the best way to pin down a culture is to take a look at its canonical works of literature. In The Republic of Imagination, as Adam Begley details in a review in the Times Literary Supplement, she examines a few of America’s classic novels, including Babbitt, Huck Finn and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark’s review of the book for The Millions.
Our own Janet Potter has teamed with Michael Shaub to launch The Book Report, an online weekly literary talk show. The first episode, which focuses on David Pearce‘s Red or Dead, is now available on YouTube. Pair their video with Mark Lane‘s Millions review of Pearce’s novel.
If you thought Cameron Diaz’s windshield sex scene in The Counselor was weird, things just got weirder for Cormac McCarthy. His ex-wife was arrested for pulling a gun out of her vagina after a domestic dispute about aliens escalated. Pair with: Our essay on McCarthy’s foray into screenwriting.
At The Guardian, the intriguing case of historian Orlando Figes and his wife’s savage Amazon reviews of her husband’s rivals’ books. The case begs the question: should Amazon allow anonymous reviews?
“Through such experiments, [he] seems preoccupied by the need to make this familiar form something different from what we think it is, so that it can more capably capture a reality that has fast been veering into the unreal. It’s not just that the world outside the novel has made this jump, but also that we cannot evade the world’s strangeness when the storytellers, and the characters into which they breathe life, increasingly come from such different perspectives.” On Year in Reading alum Chang-rae Lee’s new novel (which you can buy with a nifty 3D book cover).
France’s top literary award, the Prix Goncourt, has been awarded to the French-Moroccan journalist and novelist Leïla Slimani, The New York Times reports. Slimani’s book, Chanson Douce, is loosely based on a tragic case in New York City in which two children were murdered by their caretaker. Earlier this year we reviewed another book that was a finalist for the prize, The Heart.