In spite of the title of her blog post, Lily Meyer doesn’t think Ann Patchett is really an enemy of Zadie Smith. Instead, she thinks the two authors play opposing roles in her life, thanks largely to the different effects their books have on her perceptions. At the Ploughshares blog, she contrasts their novels, using excerpts from White Teeth and Bel Canto. Related: Kevin Charles Redmon’s review of Patchett’s novel State of Wonder.
Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato reflects on her position living between languages. “I learned English out of necessity and that comes with its own problems—aesthetic and political ones. With childhood in one language and a writing life in the other, I’m standing both inside and outside my mother tongue and my stepmother tongue.” Pair with a piece on the important role of translators in literature.
To celebrate the release of Curiosity and Method: Ten Years of Cabinet Magazine, the Cabinet editors put their own magazine on trial, filling up an NYPL auditorium with academics and writers who, perhaps inevitably, began to compete in a kind of irrelevance-off. Which begs the question, answered well by The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones in Bookforum: how relevant to the wider culture is a magazine like Cabinet, anyway?
If at some point in your life you lose a beloved pet, and if, while mourning, you decide to write an obituary, know this — whatever you write will not be as good as E.B. White’s tribute to his dog. (You can read more pieces like it in the perfectly-titled E.B. White on Dogs.)
Bygone Bureau editor Jonathan Gourlay spent eleven years living on the microscopic island of Pohnpei, and fortunately for us he kept his wits about him long enough to churn out a “funny, haunting travel memoir” entitled Nowhere Slow. You can check out an excerpt from the eBook over here.