“Why are people so preoccupied? What is genre in the first place? Who invented it? Why am I perceived to have crossed a kind of boundary?” Kazuo Ishiguro and Neil Gaiman discuss The Buried Giant, fantasy and genre for the New Statesman. Pair with our own Lydia Kiesling‘s review of the novel.
“Young black fiction writers in the U.S. often face a strange obstacle as they try to figure out who they are — it’s called American literature. A high number of pre-civil-rights-era novels by white American writers are likely to include tossed-off racial slurs and/or stock black characters, some of which make racially conscious readers want to hurl the book across the room, even if the wooly-headed pickaninnies are only peeking around a doorjamb on one page out of 400. There are exceptions, but shockingly few. You always have to brace yourself — always.” James Hannaham writes about growing up in Yonkers but finding himself in Southern literature.
Recent Pulitzer laureate Adam Johnson has a new short story in Esquire, and it’s a doozy, invoking drone strikes, Obama and Kurt Cobain in the course of its tightly-knit plot. Sample quote: “I wonder if the First Lady was the one to turn off the machine.”
At least two people were not pleased with John Jeremiah Sullivan’s recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine. In a letter to the New York Observer (and an expanded post on Google+), Susannah McCormick – daughter of renowned music historian Robert “Mack” McCormick – alleges that Sullivan and his research assistant “glibly” stole her father’s research in an act of “quasi theft.” In his response, Sullivan asserts that, “by hiding L. V. Thomas’s voice, by refusing for over half a century to credit or even so much as name the two singers who created those recordings while they or their contemporaries were alive, Mack McCormick committed a theft—through negligence or writer’s block or whatever reasons of his own—far graver than my citation of interviews L.V. granted him decades ago.”