Out this week: The Animals by Christian Kiefer; The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos; A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell; The Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson; The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias; The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto; The Wednesday Group by Sylvia True; Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade; and Notes from a Dead House, a new Dostoevsky translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (whom we’ve interviewed). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
The 2012 Best Translated Book Award long list has been announced. Among the contenders in the fiction category are Edouard Levé for Suicide, reviewed on The Millions here; Mathias Énard's Zone, which our own Garth Risk Hallberg described as "the kind of book that can tie a critic in absolute knots"; and Jean-Philippe Toussaint's The Truth About Marie, which The Millions Staffer Mark O' Connell called "a strange and unsettling novel that upholds its author’s status as one of the most exciting figures in contemporary fiction." One of Chad Harbach's year in reading selections, Dezso Kosztolányi's Kornél Esti, also made the list.
As you may have heard from our own Bill Morris, The Canyons, the new movie starring James Deen and Lindsey Lohan, is a bad film that somehow manages to be worth watching anyway. At the LARB, Naomi Fry agrees with this assessment, arguing that the film is important because it “identifies how desperately many of us still want to believe that the larger-than-life, commodified good life is still available to us.”
Why does the mythological connection between suffering and creativity persist? Writers and other artists, AL Kennedy contends, should spend less time intent on suffering and more time intent on making things. See also our own Sonya Chung, on the new writerly happiness.
"Yes, he cheated, he cracked up, he was irresponsible and even cruel in the way he marshaled his life for his art. Lowell nonetheless believed that women were his intellectual and artistic equals. He spent most of his life behaving accordingly even as he treated his wives and mistresses so terribly, in romantic terms, that it was almost operatic. That is the puzzle of Robert Lowell and women." It's not quite Valentine's Day yet, but this piece on the inarguably tumultuous relationship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick is sure to make you feel something.
In 1913, Ambrose Bierce, at the age of seventy-one, rode a horse from California to Mexico, where he planned to cover the ongoing Revolutionary War. At some point, he disappeared and died, though accounts vary as to what exactly killed him. At The Paris Review Daily, Forrest Gander recounts the many deaths of the Devil's Dictionary author, which include a public burning, death by disease and executions at the hands of Mexican soldiers.