In the late seventies, when Susan Sontag was recovering from cancer, she hired an assistant to help her catch up on correspondence. Her editor recommended Sigrid Nunez, who began working for Sontag and ended up moving in with her. Nunez now recalls the experience with a mixture of gratitude and pain. In Dissent, a look at the economy of creative assistants.
“After ten years of painting, that is to say ten years of using an abstract, invented language, writing stories was the closest I had come to working in the realm of ‘realism.’ It was the most direct I had ever been in my art. Perhaps the most direct I had ever been. But, as I learned from the comments of my peers in workshop (‘this isn’t a story,’ ‘this is poetry,’ ‘what is this’), my writing was something other than what we referred to as literary realism. By which I mean, the writing many have come to believe most accurately represents life.” Susan Steinberg asks what happened to American experimental writing.
Over at the Oyster Review Alexandra Edwards takes a literary tour of Florida, guided by “a few writers who chart Florida’s strange vacillation between the modern and the primordial,” including the likes of Elizabeth Bishop, Zora Neale Hurston and Ernest Hemingway. Our own Nick Moran has also profiled the literature of the Sunshine State, though his take was a little more “Floridapocalyptic.”
Ahead of next week’s publication of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the battle over Stieg Larsson’s lucrative literary estate. (Thanks, Craig)
Robert Perišic’s Our Man in Iraq made it onto the first installment of our Great 2013 Book Preview. A few weeks ago, Perišic sat down for an interview with John Feffer about ongoing changes in the author’s native Croatia, which recently acceded to the EU as its 28th member state.