“For Groff, it is not that there’s a clearly delineated line between the universal and the particular, but rather that they are nested like Russian dolls: every story of the particular is also an iteration of the universal.” This review of Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies from 3:AM Magazine is great. Our interview with Groff from a few weeks ago makes a nice complementary read.
A startling conclusion from this data visualization of where in words each letter of the alphabet tends to fall: "the most common word may be 'the, but the most representative word is 'toe.' " (Also available: detailed methodology and algorithms for the data geeks; an explanation of data-viz as a narrative form for everyone else.)
The 2017 Whiting Award winners were announced tonight at a ceremony in Manhattan, and this year’s list of ten honorees includes Francisco Cantú (The Line Becomes a River), Simone Wright (Of Being Dispersed), Phillip B. Williams (Thief in the Interior), Kaitlyn Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman), Tony Tulathimutte (Private Citizens), Jen Beagin (Pretend I’m Dead), and Lisa Halliday (Asymmetry) as well as playwrights Clarence Coo, James Ijames, and Clare Barron. The award, which recognizes early-career writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, comes with a $50,000 prize. Excerpts from each writer’s work can be read at The Paris Review.
While on the publicity tour for his latest book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, Michael Lewis stops by NPR's "Fresh Air" to talk Greece, the Euro, California's "third world problems," and the Occupy Wall Street protests. The author also gets a nice write-up in the latest New York Magazine, and his interview on last night's "The Daily Show" ran so long, they had to put the full version online. (Start "The Daily Show"'s clip at ~21:50 for the interview.)
“Lillian haunted me when she was alive. And she has haunted me since her death in July 2015. And she has haunted me in spectacular ways since I published my memoir a month ago.” Sherman Alexie has cancelled the rest of a book tour to promote his new memoir about his relationship with his mother, reports The Guardian. See also: our interview with Ellen Forney, who illustrated Alexie's National Book Award-winning YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
What if H.P. Lovecraft's work were set in Hollywood instead of New England? At The Toast, Kevin Sharp writes Lovecraftian gossip columns. "Two very famous couples, both well known for their complicated personal lives and grand professional successes (less known, perhaps, for the horrid dark secrets that throb and scream in their antediluvian Hollywood mansions), met for a fateful dinner."
Recommended Reading: This excerpt from The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur. In it, Laqueur explores the cultural peculiarities of mourning and the necrobotany of the yew tree, or “tree of the dead.”