“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.
“This is minor, but I noticed a few typos. For instance, at various points on pages 144 through 148 and also on page 202, you wrote, ‘All wokr and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ And on page 308, it’s ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull Jack.’ If that one’s intentional, it provides a nice break from the preceding 307 pages, and the levity is a nice contrast to the monotony.” Notes on a Jack Torrance manuscript.
Robert Birnbaum and Tobias Wolff talk short stories and other topics at The Morning News. Wolff: “Somebody once described the novel as a prose narrative of a certain length that has something wrong with it. I can think of a few novels that seem to have nothing wrong with them at all, but I can think of a lot more short stories that seem to me to be perfect.”
“It took me ten years (four of writing, six of rewriting) to complete The Listener. Now ‘trans is trending,’ and the book has been published into this particular cultural moment, one I could never have envisioned twelve years ago.” Rachel Basch discusses writing in the context of social change at Lit Hub. Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s piece on literary activism.
Nicole Chung interviews Amy Tan about her new memoir Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir, one of the highlights is when Tan ponders being one of the ‘first’ authors that people name/read when they think of Asian-American literature. “But when [“The Joy Luck Club”] came out, it did feel like there were many expectations from all areas — not just in the Asian American community, but in Asian culture itself, and in any ethnic studies community. There were people who said ‘At last!’ and there were people who said ‘How dare she?’ […] I wanted to say: I’m not writing sociology, it just so happens this is what happened in my own family.”