If his new novel Against the Country is any indication, Ben Metcalf gets his best inspiration from the worst of rural America. In the book, which features a panoply of awful crimes and obscenities, Metcalf rides roughshod over the notion of the rural idyll. In Bookforum, onetime Millions staffer Emily Colette Wilkinson reviews the novel, calling it “a gut-busting knee slapper” in spite of its glut of macabre scenes.
In the New York Times, Mokoto Rich highlights the superfluousness of book covers in the digital age and the marketing challenges that result. cf. “Ether Between the Covers: Gifting Books in a Digital Age.”
Seeing as the latest Dave Eggers book consists of all dialogue, it’s a good time to look back on the history of all-dialogue novels. Alexander Kalamaroff, writing for The Rumpus, identifies a few examples, among them The Waves by Virginia Woolf and numerous works in Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme.
Before publishing her first story, Eudora Welty worked as a WPA photographer to document the effects of the Great Depression on rural Mississippi. Today, some of her portraits from this time are on display at the Wiljax Gallery in Cleveland, MS. You can take a look at some of them online courtesy of the gallery and The Oxford American.
A few weeks ago, I pointed you to this piece on the surprising racism of children’s books. The essay was a response to controversy surrounding the rescinded publication of Ramin Ganeshram’s A Birthday Cake for George Washington, which upset readers with its confusing, cheerful illustrations and alleged misrepresentation of the nature of slavery. Over at The Guardian Ganeshram defends herself and addresses the problem of cover design versus author intent.