On life, love, poetry and Ouija: the New Yorker profiles the life and work of James Merrill.
You may have heard that Joshua Cohen has a new book out this week. The Harper’s columnist’s fourth novel tells the story of a ghostwriter producing a tech wizard’s memoirs. In BOMB Magazine, Dan Duray sits down with Cohen, who talks about the book, the Bay Area and the cultural production of autism. Related: Johannes Lichtman on Cohen’s Four New Messages.
Audrey Niffenegger has a new short story in the form of a comic. She collaborated with cartoonist Eddie Campbell on a comic about the dangers of using P.I.s to spy on your husband. The comic is one in a series of collaborations between novelists and cartoonists to celebrate the British Library's forthcoming exhibition of British comics.
Recommended Reading: Carl Wilson on short books and “too long; didn’t read” syndrome.
Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel includes, among other discomfiting things, a series of fake advertisements for surreal women’s beauty products. The plot, which follows a proofreader named A, begins with the main character’s attempt to evade her roommate, and eventually brings A to join a “Church of Conjoined Eaters.” At Slate, Molly Fischer argues the book deftly captures our society’s weird treatment of femininity.
In a head-scratching piece of writing for the New Statesman, Dave Eggers (whose novel The Circle just cracked our Top Ten) reflects on a cross-country drive he took from Jeddah to Riyadh. The journey, and in particular a comment made by his chauffeur, caused Eggers to ponder the significance of his nationality, his ability to perceive danger, and the intentions of others. The short of it: Some people from other countries are nice. Who knew?