This year’s Man Booker International Prize goes to Han Kang’s “dark, cynical,” and vivid novel The Vegetarian, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith. Also check out John Yargo’s Millions review of the novel.
Out this week: Nutshell by Ian McEwan; Jerusalem by Alan Moore; Commonwealth by Ann Patchett; Black Wave by Michelle Tea; Umami by Laia Jufresa; Loner by Teddy Wayne; Little Nothing by Marisa Silver; Every Kind of Wanting by Gina Frangello; Avid Reader: A Life by Robert Gottlieb; This Vast Southern Empire by Matthew Karp; When in French by Lauren Collins; and Intimations by Alexandra Kleeman. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
"We always try to create the worst opinion of everything there is in the United States, as a response to what they have always done with us. The only difference is that we do not write falsehoods about the United States. I told you that we emphasize the worst things, that we omit things that could be viewed as positive, but we do not invent any lies." This excerpted interview with Fidel Castro over at The Paris Review is enlightening for its candor and frankness.
"Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat – and won. I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now." Masha Gessen for The New York Review of Books.
After a Boston attorney banned the publication of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman set out to defend the book, arguing that the sex that earned the book censorship was an integral part of the experience he wanted to convey. In an essay for Salon, John Marsh examines Whitman’s defense in light of the content of his work, exploring the ways in which he upset Puritan mores. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on how Walt Whitman saved his life.
“His writings rarely make it to the US, and are resolutely for an Indian readership. They will win no prizes nor inspire dissertations. But for these reasons they represent the actuality of what many people in the world are reading today, outside of the newly sanctified category of the 'global novel.'” Ulka Anjaria for Public Books on Chetan Bhagat, “possibly the most successful Indian English novelist ever” and largely unheard of in the west. For more fictional Desi perspectives, read Aditya Desai in our own pages on reading narratives of Indian women.
Lorin Stein has made the complete archive of The Paris Review interviews available for free online. The New York Times explains why this is such fantastic news: "The first issue of The Paris Review contained an interview with E.M. Forster. The new issue contains two, with Norman Rush...and the French controversialist Michel Houellebecq. In between there have been more than 300 others, from Ernest Hemingway (as indignant as a gored bull) to Jorge Louis Borges (funny and quizzical) and Hunter S. Thompson (surely on a variety of pharmaceuticals). Nearly all are worth a look-in."