“Marlon James’s management of the voice and the paragraph isn’t what you’d call unpretty, and he’s good at having it both ways on a larger scale too. Reptilian black-ops masterminds out of a Robert Stone novel as well as bumbling CIA bureaucrats, baroque deaths in the bush and casual killings by the side of the road, historical and magic realism, sex and violence and a more ‘sophisticated kind of art’: the guy’s got it all.” This review of James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings from The London Review of Books is well worth the read.
The 2012 Costa Book Awards (PDF), which recognize books by writers in the UK and Ireland, were awarded yesterday in the Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book categories. Interestingly, each category was won by a female author. Three cheers for Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies, Francesa Segal’s The Innocents, Mary M. Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Kathleen Jamie’s Overhaul, Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon.
As previously reported, Haruki Murakami is favored to win the Nobel Prize in Literature seven-to-one. For more on the dubious practice of betting on literary awards, see this interview from last year with an employee of the London-based company responsible for calculating the odds.
Umberto Eco, Italian semiotician and author of works such as Theory of Semiotics and The Name of the Rose, has died at 84. His most famous work, The Name of the Rose, was adapted in a film starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater. Reflect on his life by revisiting Hillary Kelly’s review of Confessions of a Young Novelist.
Caleb Crain, author of American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation discusses the mixed feelings that a writer is subject to when it’s time to let go of a book.