Novels that focus on obsessive characters hinge on persnickety details. The need to depict accurately the mind of an obsessive demands that the novelist overemphasize the trifling and tangential. In The Kenyon Review, Vanessa Blakeslee reviews a new and representative example of the form, The Understory by Pamela Erens. Sample quote: “When the smaller steps of daily life are magnified, does that narrative reach its greatest potential for a unified and powerful resonance?” FYI, Erens has written for us.
When you want to distinguish fiction and poetry writing from academic work or journalism, you use a straightforward term: creative writing. But what if that term is not the one you should use? At Slate, an article on the subject by Cydney Alexis, originally published by Inside Higher Ed.
I’ve written before about By Heart, a series at The Atlantic in which authors write short pieces about their favorite passages in literature. This week, our own Edan Lepucki — whose new novel you may have heard about thanks to Stephen Colbert — writes about the metaphors in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. (FYI, Margaret Atwood wrote a Year in Reading entry for The Millions.)
At Bookforum, Gee Henry talks with New Yorker staff writer Hilton Als, whose new collection of essays, White Girls, tackles subjects including Eminem, Truman Capote and Gone with the Wind. The writer also delves into his affection for André Leon Talley.