Over at The Paris Review, Max Nelson writes about prison literature, from John Clare to Christopher Smart.
“It is now, at this precise moment when I become woefully aware of the cruel transience of this seasonal offering, rarely lingering beyond the Marigold blooms of latter March, and at once I am lost amidst a magnificent vision, one in which our hallowed Saint Patrick himself is riding shotgun alongside me in this very Camry.” In which James Joyce orders a shamrock milkshake.
“No novel gets uniformly enthusiastic reviews, but the polarized responses to The Goldfinch lead to the long-debated questions: What makes a work literature, and who gets to decide?” Vanity Fair has big questions and lots of opinions about Donna Tartt‘s latest novel, which we’ve covered pretty extensively ourselves.
Five finalists have been named for this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: Daniel Alarcón’s At Night We Walk in Circles, Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, (Year in Reading alum) Joan Silber’s Fools, and Valerie Trueblood’s Search Party: Stories of Rescue. One winner will be selected on April 2, 2014, and a celebratory dinner will be held in its honor on May 10. You can read up on all of the finalists over here.
20 Under 40 alum and A Better Angel author Chris Adrian teamed up with Eli Horowitz to publish a digital novel with Atavist Books. The novel, titled The New World, employs new storytelling techniques made possible by Atavist software. It’s worth remembering here that the first book Atavist published was written by fellow 20-Under-40er Karen Russell.
Head over to The Literary Hub and take a look at this excerpt from Svetlana Alexievich’s newest book, Second-Hand Time, which has been called a “history of emotions” chronicling the demise of Soviet communism. While you’re at it, take a look at this Millions profile/interview with Alexievich from earlier this summer.