Over at The New Inquiry, Alison Kinney writes on narrative opportunity, the true function of the literary orphan, and the rage of the real orphan. This moving piece by Matthew Salesses for The Millions on adoption and searching for oneself in a strange place is a nice complement.
This week in beautiful books: Eugène Delacroix once illustrated Goethe’s Faust, and Goethe himself claimed the resulting lithographs “surpassed my own vision.” A full version of the work is now available online. And in a slightly more light-hearted vein, English Russia has found and scanned a delightful Soviet version of The Hobbit, complete with a Gollum straight out of Dr. Seuss.
Let’s play a game: a “lazy Sunday” version of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Ready? Good. Imagine you’re hanging out with Junot Díaz today. What do you want to do? Select Option A to go barhopping. Select Option B to go comic book shopping. Select Option C to read an excerpt from his new book, This Is How You Lose Her. Or Select Option D to read Leah Hager Cohen’s review of the collection. There is no wrong answer.
“Much of what passes for advanced literary scholarship these days is dreadful twaddle — incoherent, emotionally empty, deeply illiterate,” says Terry Castle in a recent interview with Salon about her new book of essays, The Professor. You can also catch Castle in the most recent issue of The New York Times Magazine.
When a professor of literature wrote Flannery O’Connor for a master key for interpreting her story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” he probably did not expect her particularly unimpressed reply: “Too much interpretation is certainly worse than too little, and where feeling for a story is absent, theory will not supply it.” (Via the ever-excellent Letters of Note.)
Buzzfeed interviews Naomi Alderman author of The Power, a 2016 book receiving heightened attention this year for its timely feminist premise. “In the book, women develop the ability to electrocute people at will, and as the dynamic between the genders shifts after centuries of oppression, women (finally) begin to take control back from men.” Why all the newfound attention? Alderman believes that it’s due to the subject matter and it being released in the States. ‘It’s only just been published in America and some American reviewers have responded to it as if it was written in response to Donald Trump, but in fact no, it was written before that. I think some of the things in the world have not changed and that is why you can mistake it for having been written yesterday.’ But she adds: ‘I think actually one thing that has really changed is that women are really fucking angry.'”
Recommended Reading: Thomas Dylan Eaton on the Austrian writer Peter Handke.