This essay from Garth Greenwell at The New Yorker about gay mystery novelist Michael Nava is as fascinating as it is informative. Then, let Daniel Friedman at The Millions spoil the genre for you with his take on the very few ways to tie up a mystery.
Check out a new essay from Zadie Smith in NYRB on the uncanny, Schopenhauer, and Anomalisa. “That we believe ourselves to be separate from each other, and separate from the apparent objects of our desire, was, for Schopenhauer, the root of our suffering.” For more on Smith, read our review of NW.
“Whenever I tried to invent a character or a situation, I felt a stab of guilt. I could hear my teacher’s quavering voice saying, Write what you know! Why had she insisted on this so vociferously?” Writing class mantras are easy to impart but they are also easily misinterpreted. A.X. Ahmad, author of The Last Taxi Ride and The Caretaker, learns this truth the hard way as he tries to become a writer following a personal upheaval. Pair with Ahmad’s Millions essay on “The Thriller, Reinvented.”
Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, the largest Yakuza faction, has decided to start its own magazine focused on “haiku poetry, articles on the innocent pursuit of angling and entreaties to its readers to perform good works” among other things. Related: recently photographer Christopher Jue journeyed with People Who Eat Darkness author Richard Lloyd Parry into the four-story headquarters of the Kudō-kai.
Recommended Reading: This piece by Elisa Gabbert at Guernica Magazine in which she questions whether certain ideas can survive new shifts in language. It’s too bad she didn’t write it in emoji.
Is Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life a Great American Gay Novel? According to Garth Greenwell, the book — which came out in March — is one of the most ambitious gay novels to come out in years. At The Atlantic, he makes a case that the book is a classic of its kind. You could also read Christopher Richards on Frank O’Hara’s lessons for gay men.
Moby-Dick is a quintessential Great American Novel, perhaps even the greatest, but it might not be pure fiction. That’s what George Dobbs argues in a piece on “The Real Life Inspirations Behind Moby-Dick” for The Airship. Invention or not, at least we can be thankful no cannibalism sneaked its way onto the Pequod…