Is Alejandro Zambra the new great Latin American writer? James Wood thinks he is. In the latest New Yorker, he describes how Zambra’s new story collection alerted him to the writer’s oeuvre, going on to analyze all three of the writer’s novels in English. You could also read our 2011 interview with Zambra.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? / Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long,” crooned Brian Wilson in The Beach Boys’ 1966 hit “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” The song went on to become the title of Wilson’s autobiography. Now, over half a century later, the crew is finally older, and fans hoping for a reunion won’t have to “wait so long” because the band’s officially announced an upcoming 50th anniversary tour.
“Eleven years later, the Atlantic Monthly editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, made a similar request to an obscure, retiring poet named Emily Dickinson who had written a letter asking if her verses ‘breathed.’ Her response was much like Melville’s, if typically elliptical: ‘Could you believe me—without? I had no portrait, now, but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur—and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves—Would this do just as well?'” The age-old problem: how writers deal with publicity.