“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.
In addition to its overt references to Robert Chambers’s The King in Yellow, HBO’s breakout hit, True Detective, seems also to draw from the work of a self-published poet named Dennis McHale. Or is it the other way around? (Bonus: Lincoln Michel drew up a reading list of southern gothic books similar in tone to the HBO series.)
“Among their other contributions to American life are words that some of the Beats marshaled on behalf of wild places. Kerouac, inspired by Snyder’s rapture about a summer spent in the clouds, followed him as a lookout to an area that eventually became North Cascades National Park in Washington State.” Over at The New York Times, Timothy Egan takes a look at poetry’s long, linked history with our national parks.
“Thinking about his films while watching an American film leads to a sobering realization: all the things that Abbas Kiarostami could not show in his films became the only things Hollywood filmmakers chose to show in theirs. What he showed in his films were the things abandoned by Hollywood: conversation, friendship, understanding, compassion, and empathy.” A. S. Hamrah discusses Abbas Kiarostami’s legacy at n+1.
Are we now living in a golden age of the uncanny? The Millions contributor Porochista Khakpour suspects that we are, and she also suspects that our historical moment, populated as it is with alienating developments and surreal art, is key to understanding the work of Helen Oyeyemi. In the Times, Khakpour reviews Oyeyemi’s new novel. (You could also read both writers’ Year in Reading pieces.)
“Four years after first announcing the decision to open the prize to Americans, the Booker is virtually indistinguishable from its competitors. It is exactly what many feared it would become: corporate and daft.” Alex Shephard writing for The New Republic about why the Man Booker Prize isn’t interesting anymore. Still, should you want to know who’s shortlisted this year, here’s our roundup.
Jorge Louis Borges’s suggestions for the thirty-three books to begin his famed Library of Babel includes works by Oscar Wilde, Franz Kafka, and even Borges himself–and, maddeningly, no women. Nothing against Borges, but you may want to spend some time with our own slightly more diverse Year in Reading series for a bit more variety.