“You know, it’s dangerous to focus on one person as a way of talking about a big system. But I think Kissinger reveals the system. He’s not singularly responsible for the system—if we expunge Kissinger from history, we still wouldn’t have a Virtuous Republic—but he illuminates it like nobody else.” Greg Grandin discusses his recent release, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, at The New Republic.
If you’re like me, you probably assumed you’d never read the phrase “George Saunders in O, the Oprah Magazine”, but this is where his latest piece has turned up. As part of a creative way of presenting a list of books to read, the author imagines what reading material he’d give to an alien who wants to know what it’s like to be human. For more on his work, go read our own Elizabeth Minkel on his legacy and recent collection.
Part Into the Wild, part Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Howard Axelrod’s The Point of Vanishing is the story of his two years spent in profound solitude in the Vermont wilderness. Called “torture” by prison rights activists and “a threat to mental stability” by psychologists, Axelrod’s decision to sequester himself from society was nothing if not extreme. Alexander Supertramp would be proud.
Split This Rock’s Tenth Annual Poetry Contest is now open for submissions, judged by Sheila Black. All prize winners will be invited to read at the 2018 Split This Rock Poetry Festival and have their poems published in The Quarry.
New this week: Flings by Justin Taylor; We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas; The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar; Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark; The Undertaking by Audrey Magee; Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher; and a new translation of a French children’s book by Lydia Davis. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.