In Wayde Compton’s The Outer Harbour, a series of short stories take the reader from the present day to 2025, exploring a near-future Vancouver in which things grow steadily more surreal. As Emily Oppenheimer writes, it’s clearly a work of speculative fiction, yet the setting resembles our own world in uncanny ways. Sample quote: “Compton achieves the more troubling, yet ultimately more satisfying, goal of portraying the fantastical as something that is very much rooted in what we think we already know about ourselves and our world.”
The Atlantic reviews the first full-length biography of Joan Didion, The Last Love Song by Tracy Daugherty, to be released August 25th. The biography “looks at the author’s legacy of cool.” Related: Franklin Strong’s essay on “The Manliness of Joan Didion” in The Millions.
Sometime Millions contributor and New York Daily News editorial staffer Alexander Nazaryan has kicked off the Daily News' new literary blog, Page Views. Nazaryan says, "you may not think of the tabloid as a particularly literary format, but we are going to challenge your assumptions of what constitutes literary/cultural reporting in this town." His first post, "Don't tell me the book is dead," went live this morning.
"American television has been a juvenile medium for most of its existence," David Simon tells Salon. This defense of 'Treme' was published three days after David Thier called the show "deeply boring" in The Atlantic. "There is nothing New Orleans loves so much as New Orleans" Thier says, "but the show can't get past the desire to be authentic." Sarah Broom, during last May's PEN World Voices Festival, said "this 'love of place' is really just from people who are stuck in a lots of ways." But hey, at least the show's attention to detail is admirable.
Out this week: Friendship by Emily Gould; God Is an Astronaut by Alyson Foster; How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer; The Actress by Amy Sohn; Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert; The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob; Three Light-Years by Andrea Canobbio; The Sacred River by Wendy Wallace; The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil; and a previously unpublished short story by Samuel Beckett.
Ted Thompson, whose novel The Land of Steady Habits was released earlier this year, writes for Salon about his experience publishing his first book. Pair with this conversation between our own Bill Morris and Edan Lepucki, who both have novels coming out this month.
"I always think, 'What if I can’t?' Then I always think, 'Oh shit, don’t think that.' Because thinking about it can make it happen. Not like it’s happened that often. But I get scared about it. We all do. Anybody that tells you they don’t they’re full of it. They’re always scared it might happen." There's a lot of really bad writing about sex. This is a piece about some of the good stuff.