Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the famously reclusive Harper Lee, and with good reason – her long-awaited second book, Go Set A Watchman, was released last week, and isn’t quite what readers expected. Over at The Atlantic, Ari N. Schulman takes a slightly different approach to Lee and her work by focusing instead on Maurice Cain, Lee’s longtime agent, friend, and “co-conspirator.”
Jacket Copy visits Joan Didion at her apartment in Manhattan to discuss Blue Nights, which moves back and forth between the death of Didion’s 39-year-old daughter, Quintana, six years ago and the author’s reflections on aging. The book is a much anticipated follow-up to 2005’s The Year of Magical Thinking, in which Didion wrote about the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne.
Downton Abbey, meet Arrested Development: Arrested Downton. Speaking of the stunningly popular Downton, The Missouri Review is having a “non-contest;” enter by channeling the voice of your favorite author to describe the world of the show. Our own Garth Risk Halberg might be able to help you out, with his essay on Downton‘s literary pedigree.
Ian Crouch writes for The New Yorker about a new version of The Sun Also Rises, which gives readers a peak into Hemingway‘s drafts and revisions. Crouch believes that by reading these drafts carefully, one can pick out a “minor manifesto” that “conceives of a book with greater intellectual and artistic ambitions than Hemingway ever produced.” In the words of Hemingway’s character Jake Barnes, “Isn”t it pretty to think so?” Pair with our own review of the latest edition of The Sun Also Rises.
“‘Poetry, I feel,” said Sylvia Plath in a radio interview in 1962, the year before her suicide, ‘is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space, you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals.'” Fifty years after her death, an argument for close reading.
When Belarusian investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize earlier this year, her horrifying and poetic book Voices From Chernobyl exposed a great many readers to the Chernobyl disaster. Now, this piece from The Atlantic takes a look at Chernobyl’s literary legacy over the past three decades.