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.
"Whatever the facts of her life – whether she turned out to be an ancient man living in the Icelandic interior or a woman waiting tables at a Texan diner – Ferrante writes in an autobiographical mode. That is fuel for the truthers, a sort of literary ankle-flashing. But it is also good cover for another motive: a very contemporary form of envy of another’s autonomous space and their creativity, a rage that while they give us their work, they will not also give us their person." On a new collection of Elena Ferrante's letters, interviews and short pieces.
How did Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean create one of DC's most popular comics in history? The Guardian finds out the inspiration behind The Sandman. McKean shares the stories behind his favorite covers, and Gaiman also addresses his resemblance to Dream. "I suppose he looks like me, though. But that's one of those peculiar things where you gradually start to look like your dog."
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about this year’s Brandeis commencement, at which New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier argued that the humanities are under siege in America. In this week’s issue of Prospect Magazine, Malcolm Nicholson interviews Wieseltier, who claims that “we live in a culture of worthless praise.”
In an interview about her new book, The Day I Shot Cupid: Hello, My Name Is Jennifer Love Hewitt and I'm a Love-aholic, Jennifer Love had some rather startling advice for jilted young ladies: "After a breakup, a friend of mine Swarovski-crystalled my precious lady. It shined like a disco ball so I have a whole chapter in there on how women should vagazzle their vajayjays."