By the age of twenty-one, Eugene O’Neill had dropped out of Princeton, fathered a child and caught syphilis on a trip through South America. He was, in his own words, “the Irish luck kid,” blessed in a strange way with misfortune. Yet he went on to win a Pulitzer eleven years later. How did he do it? In the LRB, John Lahr reads a new biography of the playwright.
Out this week: Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth; Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein; Lucky You by Erika Carter; An Arrangement of Skin by Anna Journey; The River of Kings by Taylor Brown; and More Alive and Less Lonely by Jonathan Lethem. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Chances are you’ve heard that in a recent interview, Claire Messud responded to a patronizing question about one of her characters — “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you?” — by giving her interviewer a smackdown that resonated across the blogosphere. At Page-Turner, several authors (including Rivka Galchen, Jonathan Franzen and Year in Reading alumna Margaret Atwood) offer their own takes on the matter of “likeability.” (There’s also this piece by our own Emily St. John Mandel to consider.)
His new novel, Sunset Park, finds Paul Auster leaving behind the metafictional gamesmanship of his recent work for a look at our new Age of Austerity. This week, he talks to The L Magazine about the neighborhood from which it takes its title and inspiration…