“In Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Mozambique, it’s the real thing, not magic, and the only way to tell these stories.” Man Booker International Prize finalist Mia Couto discusses the label “magic realism,” the death of Cecil the lion, his new novel Confession of the Lioness – one of the most anticipated books of 2015, and post-civil war Mozambique. Pair with Philip Graham’s Millions essay on Couto’s fiction.
A couple weeks back, Jonathan Callahan published a crackerjack essay here on Volume 2 of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle. Little did we know that, even as he was writing it, he was being interviewed about his own literary debut, The Consummation of Dirk, by none other than…Rick Moody.
New this week are Anita Desai's The Artist of Disappearance and P.D. James' Pride and Prejudice sequel Death Comes to Pemberly. Joseph Gordon-Levitt hangs up his acting duds to put out The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1, and, speaking of tiny stories, there's Lou Beach's 420 Characters: "these crystalline miniature stories began as Facebook status updates." On the nonfiction side, there's Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller.
Most writers, unless they’re lucky enough to have an ideal place in which to work, make do with the best space available. For Colum McCann’s father, the shed in his backyard, which “always smelled damp inside, as if the rain rose up out of the carpet,” sufficed for the fiction he wrote after coming home from work. At Page-Turner, the National Book Award winner and Year in Reading alum remembers his father’s retreat.
You must obey (and read) your robot overlords! As if winning a literary award wasn't already hard enough, a story co-authored by computers just made it through at least one round of judging at the Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award competition in Japan. But don't worry, you haven't lost your job quite yet–the good news is that the programs still have "some problems … such as character descriptions.”