It looks like Jonathan Safran Foer will be publishing his first novel in eleven years next fall. The book, tentatively titled Here I Am, is the story of an American Jewish family, set against a background of traumatic events in the Middle East including earthquakes and an invasion of Israel. Foer’s last novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, enjoyed tremendous critical and commercial success. Here’s a piece on JSF’s crazy, confusing, die-cut book Tree of Codes.
It’s just been announced that The Sound of Things Falling by Colombian author, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from the Spanish by Canadian Anne McLean, is the winner of the 2014 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award (and the €100,000 prize money). We discussed the Prize’s shortlist when it was released back in 2013, and profiled The Sound of Things Falling in our “Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.” Congratulations to Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and be sure to check out his prize-winning novel!
Year in Reading alumnus Alexander Chee writes about the impulse to write fiction, his first novel, and unpublished manuscripts in an essay for the Center For Fiction’s Why Fiction Matters series. “The first story I ever invented for public consumption was in a book report back in grade school. I had made a vow to read every book in my grade school library, and at some point, as I made my way through them, I remember very clearly understanding that there was simply no way my teacher would know about every book ever published—this was before the Internet—and so I decided I would make one up and see if she noticed.” Pair with this Millions piece, featuring six writers looking back on their first novels.
“[YOU can only speak to what you experienced outside several seconds after your coworker entered the building, but several seconds before YOU yourself reached your cubicle. YOU do not know if it is in fact still raining out. YOU say nothing and are forever plagued by the unknowable nature of the immediate present.]” These short existentialist plays starring you and your coworkers are sure to stir up some feelings of gloom, doom, and familiarity.
“We don’t have to look at Iraq for an analogue to Missouri,” writes Elif Batuman. “We can look instead at Missouri, or elsewhere in the United States.” Indeed for many ordinary Americans, as Jabari Asim echoes in his poem inspired by the recent events in Ferguson, “It’s more than time we had that talk / about what to say and where to walk, / how to act and how to strive, / how to be upright and stay alive.”