Has Edward St. Aubyn killed the existentialist novel? Jacob Kiernan at Full Stop Magazine has a few ideas about it. If it’s existential quandary you’re after, this essay for The Millions on the beautiful afterlife of books–which may not be so much of an afterlife, after all–will be perfect for you.
“I am going to propose: The rigmarole is truly underexploited. Everyone should write a ‘Conversations with Drummond’ about themselves and about every opinion-spouting person they know. For the historical record. For revenge. For the children. Especially if you’re well-known, or right in the middle of the action, or both.” Anthony Madrid for The Paris Review looks at Ben Jonson, William Drummond, and the rigamarole.
Peter Jackson, beloved director of The Lord of the Rings movies, has turned his talents to an adaption of a very different book. He has directed a film version of Alice Sebold‘s The Lovely Bones (see the trailer here), the story of a young girl who is murdered and looks down on her family and killer from heaven. Saoirse Ronan will play Susie Salmon, the novel’s heroine. Ronan is perhaps making a career of cinematic adaptions of novels–she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Briony Tallis in last year’s film version of Ian McEwan‘s Atonement. Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weisz, and Stanley Tucci also star.
Writers John Keene, Dawn Martin Lundy, and others respond to the mass shooting in Orlando. “Homophobia, transphobia, and ideologically-nurtured hatreds of all kinds, coupled with semi-automatic weapons, provide the fuel for terror, in this case literally,” says Keene.
This week we are delighted to announce that Kate Gavino is joining The Millions as Social Media Editor! Kate is a writer, illustrator, and creator of the website Last Night’s Reading, which was compiled into a published collection by Penguin Books in 2015. Her second book, Sanpaku, was published by BOOM! Studies in August of 2018. She most recently worked as a social media editor at Brooklyn Public Library.
“There are people out there who want you to write their novels for them,” observes professional ghostwriter Sari Botton. Over at Scratch, she shares some advice for breaking into the industry. Also, the magazine has made her longer article about “the spooky finances behind her gigs” free to read – all you have to do is register.
What is the function of the art critic, anyway? According to Barry Schwabsky at The Nation, it is not “making or breaking” an artist, but rather “opening up perspectives without … belaboring them.” For the critically minded among you, here’s a Millions review of A.O. Scott’s new book Better Living Through Criticism.
We’ve published essays before on the importance of good grammar, but it’s rare that something comes along that illustrates its value so clearly. A couple weeks ago, the Times published a blurb about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a recent essay collection by Ann Patchett, that led to the author sending in what may be the best correction of all time. For more on Patchett’s work, you could read Kevin Charles Redmon on her book State of Wonder.