“What if, instead of simply critiquing Go Set a Watchman’s failure, we tried to analyze it? The new, older work makes more sense if we read it as an attempt to accomplish two tasks: first, to master—unsuccessfully, it turns out—the smart-magazine style that Harper Lee developed in her student journalism; and second, to write in a genre that often relied on the ironic elisions typical of ‘smart style’: the midcentury social-problem novel.” Tom Perrin on Harper Lee and the social novel. Pair with Michael Bourne’s Millions review.
Hobart is celebrating the month of June by offering a 20% discount on all of their Short Flight / Long Drive Books. You can pick up any two for $15. In particular I recommend Adam Novy’s Avian Gospels, a vividly imagined story of a young boy who can control flocks of birds. (I’ve recommended it before.) You can also get a taste for the book by watching its trailer over here.
Following last year’s Pulitzer Prize, which Donna Tartt won for her first novel in eleven years, it means something when a critic draws a favorable comparison between The Goldfinch and a new book. For Laura Miller, though, it’s a natural reaction to the latest from Sarah Waters, which seems poised to “scratch the same big-novel itch” as Tartt’s novel did last year. (FYI, Sarah Waters wrote a Year in Reading entry for The Millions.)
Is the “Dad-bod” a harmless internet trend or an organizational principle of patriarchy? Vishnu Strangeways at The New Inquiry sides with the latter. Our own Edan Lepucki wrote a particularly relevant piece for The Millions on Beyoncé and the problem with feminist anthems–here it is.