“These are not stories about the weather, these are stories about life and death.” Over at Ploughshares, E.V. De Cleyre considers the weather in contemporary literature.
Jay Rubin, best known as Haruki Murakami’s longtime English translator, is also a novelist in his own right. Last month, he published his debut The Sun Gods, about a Japanese-American couple who meet each other on the eve of World War II. In an interview with The Rumpus, he talks about Murakami, his new book and his interest in Japanese literature. You could also read Ben Dooley on Japanese cell phone novels.
Sex ed for teenagers is a famously knotty subject, which explains why Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s ombudsman, wants to eschew sex ed classes in favor of literature courses. “It is unacceptable to allow things that could corrupt children,” he said in a television interview. “The best sex education that exists is Russian literature.” (No word yet on what he thinks of Crime and Punishment.) (h/t The Paris Review)
Up until 1999, Italian college students were required to write longform theses, which explains why Umberto Eco felt the need to write a guide to completing one. Eco being Eco, however, the guide went on to become a classic with many applications. At Page-Turner, Hua Hsu explains why the author’s writing manual is also a guide to life. You could also read Hillary Kelly on Eco’s Confessions of a Young Novelist.
“Garth Greenwell’s project with What Belongs to You is to remind us how illicit cruising and anonymous sex figure within the modern gay identity. As the gay marriage movement helps sanitize (and de-sexualize) queerness, Greenwell brings the dark and sordid elements of sex and promiscuity back into sharp relief.” Over at Pacific Standard, Nathan Smith writes on the new gay novel. Pair with the Millions review of Greenwell’s book.