Recommended Reading/Listening: Maia Evrona’s translation and recitation of a poem by Abraham Sutzkever, who has been called one of the primary poets of the Holocaust. Gabriel Brownstein’s essay for The Millions on what it means to be a “Jewish writer” is a good complementary piece.
Eleanor Catton has been getting a lot of press for being the youngest author ever to win the Man Booker prize, but she claims that the new fame is a mixed blessing that often brings up sexism. “In my experience, and that of a lot of other women writers, all of the questions coming at them from interviewers tend to be about how lucky they are to be where they are – about luck and identity and how the idea struck them,” she told The Guardian.
In a By Heart piece for The Atlantic, Harriet Lane writes about the “bleak precise nature” of Philip Larkin‘s poetry (what Stephen Akey called “The Poetry of Mental Unhealth” in a Millions review) and about the power inherent in writing fiction. “In my everyday life I have no control, really: who does? But on paper, I hold all the cards. Fiction provides you with a way to shape a world, to exert the kind of power and agency our real lives so often lack.”
The upcoming Supreme Court decision on gay marriage is drawing a lot of attention. But what about the other ruling — the one aimed at grizzled old men? At The Onion, a report on Justice Alito’s recent decision, which tersely states that marriage is a pact between a man and the sea.
Sergio De La Pava, the once and future king of our list of top ten books, gets the interview treatment at The Believer’s Logger page. Now might be a good time to scroll back to our profile of the author, whose first book, A Naked Singularity, came out in bookstores in June.
“The book documents its time, a time when homosexuality was illegal, and still described in medical books as a mental illness. It is one of the best firsthand accounts of what it was like to be gay in the mid-20th century — ostracized — separate from the mainstream world. It reveals, through its characters, how young men couldn’t admit, even to themselves, that they were what society deemed perverted.” On the novel City of Night by John Rechy.
It’s a big week for literary new releases. Chris Adrian’s much anticipated new novel The Great Night is now out, as is Francine Prose’s My New American Life. Also new this week are Roddy Doyle’s latest collection of stories, Bullfighting, and the reissue of William Boyd’s impish prank of a book, Nat Tate: An American Artist. Finally, past Booker shortlister Linda Grant has a new novel out called We Had It So Good.