Elena Ferrante uses a pseudonym. We may not know her given name, but we do know her home city – Naples. Read about realism in her work from Irene Caselli, who also calls Naples home. Want to know more about Ferrante? She does interviews.
In Meg Wolitzer’s new YA novel Belzhar, a group of teenagers packed off to an idyllic boarding school learn that they have the ability to undo their most serious traumas. Their discovery is sparked by a writing assignment in a class on Sylvia Plath. At Slate, Jennifer Ray Morell connects Wolitzer’s novel to Plath’s classic The Bell Jar. Related: our own Hannah Gersen’s interview with biographer Elizabeth Winder.
When Electric Literature tells me that Jonathan Lee has “unleashed a literary bombshell of a novel,” I set aside my skepticism of the hyperbolic and give it a look. Lee’s High Dive “asks us to look at the plethora of thought and self-indulgence—that beautiful minutia—that flourishes in an unharmed life, and to consider how much generous freedom there is in nonviolence.”
“There is no divorcing the lack of diversity in the outdoors from a history of violence against the black body, systemic racism, and income inequality,” writes Rahawa Haile in her description of hiking the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, Haile documented her journey and the books she carried — books written by black authors. In a debrief interview, she explains her motivation: “I want[ed] to bring these books places no one likely has. I want[ed] to document where black brilliance belongs.”
“Notice how Malbecco, as Gelosy, lives outside of time, a death-in-life: he can ‘never dye, but dying lives.’ In other words, embrace a quality entirely—even, I would argue, a less pejorative quality, like hustle—and it overmasters you. You’re doomed.” Rowan Ricardo Phillips, basketball columnist for The Paris Review, on Edmund Spenser, hustle, and the New York Knicks.