Has Joan Didion become “the Ultimate Literary Celebrity“? In an article for the New Republic Laura Marsh says “yes,” and then explains how that happened. Marsh’s efforts pair well with Franklin Strong‘s recent Millions essay on “The Manliness of Joan Didion,” Joan Didion being a literary figure who easily adapts to any description.
Some world literature links: Sign and Sight offers the best introduction to Herta Müller I've been able to find...The Complete Review gets the ball rolling on Roberto Bolaño's (very) early novel Monsieur Pain, forthcoming from New Directions...Ingo Schulze, author of the quietly astonishing New Lives and the forthcoming One More Story, talks to The Toronto Star (via)...The NBCC features Yu Hua's Brothers...Claudio Magris is crowned the king of Frankfurt...Maud Newton hails Juan Gabriel Vásquez's "inventive and intricately plotted" The Informers...The Brooklyn Rail and Transcript both offer handsome online digests of short stories from around the world.
The New York Times' executive editor Bill Keller caused an uproar three months ago when he railed against Twitter and, specifically, how it was making us all dumb. (Or, after being challenged, was it for some other reason?) This month, he rails against his staff of reporters because they want to write books.
New this week: The Most of Nora Ephron; At Night We Walk in Circles by New Yorker 20 Under 40er Daniel Alarcón; S., a novel written by Doug Dorst in collaboration with J.J. Abrams (which naturally has a trailer); and The Gorgeous Nothings, a full-color facsimile of poems that Emily Dickinson drafted on the backs of envelopes. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.