Patti Smith’s M Train was released this Tuesday. Geoffrey O’Brien reviews her memoir at The New York Review of Books: “Perhaps M Train represents the attempt by someone whose career is as public as can be imagined to stake out a zone of inviolable privacy, albeit through the public act of writing a book meant for publication.” Need more music? Check out our Torch Ballads and Jukebox Music column.
“Patriarchal domination, even — despite appearances — in the West, is still very entrenched, and each of us, in the most diverse places, in the most varied forms, suffers the humiliation of being a silent victim or a fearful accomplice or a reluctant rebel or even a diligent accuser of victims rather than of the rapists. Paradoxically, I don’t feel that there are great differences between the women of the Neapolitan neighborhood whose story I told and Hollywood actresses or the educated, refined women who work at the highest levels of our socioeconomic system. ” In a rare interview, Elena Ferrante discuses the #meToo movement, Naples and her writing process for the Neapolitan novels in a rare interview translated from the original French.
In the 1880s, a group of rural Illinoisans formed a Christian sect that believed that a local woman, Dorinda Beekman, was the new Jesus Christ. When Mrs. Beekman died, a follower of hers claimed that her spirit lived inside him; as the new leader of the sect, he moved his followers into a barn and named it Heaven. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Visel looks back on this odd chapter of history, as well as the novel it inspired. (Related: Eric Shonkwiler on the literature of the Midwest.)
“Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.” Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things To Me, on maintaining hope and resisting defeatism.
Version 2 of McSweeney’s quirky iPhone app includes an ebookstore with custom-designed ebooks. “Whereas most ebooks have weird line breaks, stretched type and clunky fonts, ours are actually designed so they look just as they do in print – clean and beautiful.”
New this week: The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania James; B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman; The Dream of My Return by Horacio Castellanos Moya; The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi; A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara; and The Discreet Hero by Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.