As Alden Jones puts it, a “sex-death-art trifecta” is the core of The Small Backs of Children, the new book by Lidia Yuknavitch. At The Rumpus, he talks with the author about the novel, which centers on a war photographer who takes an iconic photo in Eastern Europe. You could also read the author’s Millions essay from last week.
“I rather like the idea of just using a few brushstrokes to create a whole world. And, of course, with Twitter you do that, you can tell a very big story in a few lines.” Books and Arts Daily talks with Alexander McCall Smith about the new art of Twitter fiction. Pair with the full text of David Mitchell‘s Twitter story “The Right Sort,” exclusively on The Millions.
Move over Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Lawrence because Chloë Grace Moretz is about to become the YA queen. The trailer for her adaptation of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay just came out. Next, she will be trading tearjerkers for dystopias in an adaptation of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave.
Out today are Zsuzsi Gartner’s Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, which was shortlisted for Canada’s top literary prize, and Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder bestselling expert on chaos Nassim Talib. Out in paperback: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and How It All Began by Penelope Lively.
Head over to The Literary Hub and take a look at this excerpt from Svetlana Alexievich’s newest book, Second-Hand Time, which has been called a “history of emotions” chronicling the demise of Soviet communism. While you’re at it, take a look at this Millions profile/interview with Alexievich from earlier this summer.
“Like all great literature, [David Foster Wallace’s] books do many things at once. Litchat, however, is singleminded.” Laura Miller discusses “the perils of litchat” at The New Yorker and how it has affected the legacy of David Foster Wallace. For less litchat, read our review of The David Foster Wallace Reader.
Azar Nafisi thinks the best way to pin down a culture is to take a look at its canonical works of literature. In The Republic of Imagination, as Adam Begley details in a review in the Times Literary Supplement, she examines a few of America’s classic novels, including Babbitt, Huck Finn and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark’s review of the book for The Millions.
Warren Ellis’s Dead Pig Collector was released this week as a Kindle Single, and with it came a whole heap of extras. To wit: there’s an online excerpt, an author interview, another piece of fiction, and also an accompanying music playlist created by the author. (In that interview, he remarks that his next novel will be based on this talk he gave two years ago.)
It’s easy to forget that traders and travelers a millennium ago were as tongue-tied in foreign countries as college backpackers are today. How convenient for Silk Road travels, then, to have had a phrasebook translating between languages like Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese.