“Writing difference is a challenge, particularly in fiction. How do men write women and vice versa? How do writers of one race or ethnicity write about people of another race or ethnicity? More important, how do writers tackle difference without reducing their characters to caricatures or stereotypes?” Roxane Gay reviews Joyce Carol Oates‘s The Sacrifice and simultaneously explains how to write difference well. Hint: it “demands empathy, an ability to respect the humanity of those you mean to represent.”
The second issue of the new journal Music & Literature is a feast for Krasznahorkai enthusiasts and neophytes alike, with some 70 pages of previously untranslated fiction, interviews, and essays, along with critical context on the "Hungarian Master of the Apocalypse." Alas, only George Szirtes' essay and an interview with translator Ottilie Mulzet are available digitally. But the complete analog package is highly recommended.
The Walking Tour is drawing ever nearer! Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.In the NYRB, Mark Danner examines the politics of torture, and J.M. Coetzee gets deep inside Samuel Beckett's head.James Wood finger-drumming on YouTube is just the most weirdly hypnotic thing we've ever seen.Typewriter-part art. (via The Rumpus)A new front runner in the coolest bookshelf contest. Think of it - geographic classification! (for American lit only)"Geoff Dyer book unlikely to win Bad Sex Award"Jane Austen got rejection letters too.Wow. A new Kurt Vonnegut collection is on the way. Amazon has it listed.A glimmer of good news in the newspaper business?Audrey Niffenegger is having a pretty good recession.Further Reading: Kevin's list of families and fiction has garnered many additions from readers in the comments.
Out this week: Isadora by Amelia Gray; Chemistry by Weike Wang; A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi; Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim; and The Heirs by Susan Rieger. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Joe Fassler interviews recent MacArthur Genius and Year-in-Reading alum Viet Thanh Nguyen on the myth of overnight success, balancing an academic career while still finding time to write novels and the sacrifices all writers must make. Over at Electric Literature.