The practice of naming children after a dead sibling was surprisingly common up until the late-nineteenth century–Salvador Dali, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Vincent Van Gogh were each “necroynms,” or the second of their name. Jeannie Vasco’s essay for The Believer on necronyms and grief is perfect to read alongside this essay for The Millions by Chloe Benjamin on naming not humans, but novels.
It’s always disappointing when your novel fails to get published, but what if that novel were still lurking online? At The New York Times, Jason K. Friedman writes about finding the Amazon and Google links for his novel that never made it to print. “Google admits, ‘We haven’t found any reviews in the usual places,’ which in this case would be the planet Earth.” Pair with: Our own Edan Lepucki’s essay on how to cope with not selling your novel.
The New York Times recently asked Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid why there isn’t a Great American Novel written by a woman? Both writers concluded that there is no such thing as the Great American Novel. “But if the idea of the Great American Novel is blinding us to exquisite fiction written by women, then perhaps its harm is exceeding its usefulness,” Hamid wrote. We think that’s a bit of a cop out. But a few women showed up on our list of the Greatest American Novels.
Does love “crack [your] sternum open” or is love like the “mystery of water and a star?” Is your soul “an empty carousel at sunset?” Are you an only child? I ask because these – along with several other questions – will help Farrar, Straus, and Giroux determine once and for all: “Which Poet Are You?”