“Knausgaard‘s work is literary because of what it does, but not because of how it’s written. He gets us all asking…where does my truth really lie?” Recommended listening: James Wood, Meghan O’Rourke and Bill Pierce discuss Knausgaard in a podcast for Open Source.
“How earnest, ironic, condescending, moralistic and simply funny a Tolstoy should the translator inhabit? Perhaps the only way to render Tolstoy’s variable voice is to continue producing ever-varying translations.” Masha Gessen looks at the latest English translations of Anna Karenina and breaks down their nuances of word choice and accumulated meaning for The New York Times Book Review, and along the way she questions the novel’s most famous line: just how alike are happy families? How can we know?
In a short biographical piece for Open Letters Monthly, Sam Sacks writes about the book reviewing career of Katherine Mansfield and the ways in which it “helped her build the writing muscles needed” to finish her masterful short stories. While some critics might take umbrage at the way Sacks characterizes Mansfield as “turning out deadline copy like an ink-stained Fleet Street hack,” his look into her reviews culminates in the realization that “the point [of reviewing books] is not to be constructive but to construct something of lasting value in the little space and little time you’re granted. Like all writing, it should be a passion, not a pastime. The point is to dazzle.”
“People who grew up loving From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler and Night at the Museum can now get pretty close to fulfilling their dream of spending the night surrounded by classic books and artworks.” Condé Nast Traveler reports on the hotel at Gladstone’s Library in Wales in Hawarden, Flintshire, where guests can sleep in one of 26 rooms with access to the stacks until 10 p.m.