Nabokov once described himself “as American as April in Arizona,” which is an odd thing to call yourself when you’re a lepidopterist Russian expat. In Nabokov in America, Robert Roper explores why Nabokov felt he was so American, and how his journey to that identity influenced his writing of Lolita. At The Literary Review, Ian Sansom reviews Roper’s book.
“I struggled, quite a bit, writing this review. Reviewing books, while easy in certain ways — you have certain aspects of form to follow, there are certain features of books that cannot go unremarked: one must write about character, about language, about technique — and really a rather simple process (much simpler, it would seem, than writing books), can also be a pain. Especially, frustratingly enough, when the book is really good.” On Lola Lafon’s We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm.
“It’s about what they call Native Excellence — and creating a path to it with its own expectations and standards, instead of relying on those established by white academia or publishing.” BuzzFeed News wrote an in-depth feature on the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), which offers the US’s first indigenous-centered MFA program, Terese Marie Mailhot (author of Heart Berries: A Memoir), and Tommy Orange (author of There There). Read our interview with Marcie Rendon about writing a representative novel for today’s Native Americans.
In a new ten-part Believer series, Sheila Heti is interviewing ten of her “favorite people on Twitter” so they can “talk about what they do on Twitter and why – their Twitter philosophies, their do’s and don’ts, and what they make of the medium in general.” Kicking off the series, we have Heti’s interview with Kimmy Walters, who you may know better as @arealliveghost. (You can bookmark this link if you want to keep track of all of the updates.)
YiR alum Roxane Gay and Medium have collaborated on a magazine that will feature pieces throughout the month from 24 different writers. The writers all address the question “what does it mean to live in an unruly body?” and they range from Kiese Laymon to Keah Brown to Randa Jarrar.
In an interesting turn of events, Amazon has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle: Amazon Books. Marketing information from the company’s website will help decide how to stock its shelves. Our own Michael Bourne announces that Amazon has purchased the English language.