Those of you with some knowledge of Pale Fire and Lolita won’t be surprised to learn what Nabokov thought of dinner parties. Namely, he thought they were awful, vaguely surreal events, held largely by drunkards with overriding appetites for drama. At The Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein quotes a passage from “The Vane Sisters” to explain why “It’s hard to think of someone you’d want less at a midcentury faculty tea, save maybe a seething Shirley Jackson.” You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
Recommended Reading: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo collected sixteen short stories from sixteen authors among Cuba’s “Generación Año Cero” (Generation Year Zero), which is a “movement of writers who began publishing in 2000.” The anthology, which is available for free online in both English and Spanish, features illustrations from Cuban artists El Sexto and Luis Trápaga.
An Iranian opposition leader said Gabriel García Márquez’s News of a Kidnapping accurately reflected his life under house arrest. As a result, the book is flying off the shelves in Tehran. But why do you think Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is so big in the UK?
Over the weekend, Canada’s National Post ran a book review by our own Michael Bourne, who contributed a piece on Bright Lights, Big City this week. In the review, Michael reads Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle, which he says reaffirms the rule that bad guys are always more interesting.
When The Beatles made Rubber Soul, the band probably didn't realize it would inspire some of the greatest contemporary fiction. First, Haruki Murakami named his novel Norwegian Wood. Now, "Drive My Car" inspired his new short story. Bungeishunju published the story today, but English readers are still waiting on the translation. Until then, we can always listen to the album. Pair with: Our essay on the soundtracks behind books.