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.
George Saunders is the subject of one of Deborah Solomon’s wacky interviews in the New York Times. (via Ed)Scott gets a byline in the SF Chronicle for his review of Duchess of Nothing by Heather McGowan.Elizabeth Crane summarizes the Tom Cruise flick Minority Report like only she can.”A rare collection of Dracula-related books is to be handed over to Dublin City Library.” I had no idea Bram Stoker was Irish.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was too provocative even for the 1920s. His short story collection Taps at Reveille was never published the way he wanted it to be. When the stories came out in The Sunday Evening Post in the 1920s and ’30s, all slang, slurs, and sexual innuendo were edited out. Now, almost a century later, we can read Fitzgerald’s original work in a new Cambridge edition.
Dispatch From the Future and The Fallback Plan author Leigh Stein explains that she is writing her forthcoming memoir, Land of Enchantment, for “everyone who’s been to more funerals than weddings, everyone who lurks on the Internet late at night looking at pictures of their lost loves, everyone who cries when a certain song comes on the radio because they think it must be a sign.”
“I have learned to consume them in secret, in my own home, reading them the way you would eat a bag of M&M’s that you keep stashed behind the kale chips.” Jake Tobin Garrett for Electric Literature about the allure of self-help books. See also:“Unleashing the Essence of Self-Help Books in Three Simple Steps.”