Our review of A Widow's Story took Joyce Carol Oates to task for not mentioning that she had remarried not long after the death of her husband. In the New York Review of Books, Julian Barnes recently made the same point. Responding to the Barnes review, Oates defended her choice, but diplomatically added, "In retrospect I can see that I should have added something like an appendix."
South Floridian bandits, fishermen, drunks, madmen, and college students are mourning the imminent demise of beloved Miami institution, Jimbo's. The site of the "Who Lets The Dogs Out" video, the Flipper movie starring Elijah Wood, and a couple iterations of the now-defunct Swampstomp music festival, Jimbo's defied summation. Put simply, you had to see it yourself. The way I always explained it to my friends up North was by telling them it was like The Rum Diary met CBGB's and Will Smith's "Miami" video. Still, even that's insufficient, so I recommend reading the Miami New Times' epic chronicle of the place's history.
Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”
New this week: The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud, A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and three newly translated books from by Icelandic author Sjón: The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, and From the Mouth of the Whale. New in paperback is The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.