Tim Parks writes for the NYRB about writers living abroad. As he puts it, “But what about those writers who move to another country and do not change language, who continue to write in their mother tongue many years after it has ceased to be the language of daily conversation? Do the words they use grow arid and stiff? Or is there an advantage in being away from what is perhaps only the flavor of the day at home, the expressions invented today and gone tomorrow? Then, beyond specifically linguistic concerns, what audience do you write toward if you are no longer regularly speaking to people who use your language?” Pair with Hannah Gersen’s Millions piece on reading the English translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words.
"If a modern film version of Pride and Prejudice were produced today, some of the main characters should be gay, Elizabeth and Darcy should not get married at the end, and Charlotte Lucas should be played by a tabby cat." Laura Fairchild reveals her students' ideas for new adaptations of Jane Austen novels while meditating on what Austen can or can't teach us about modern relationships.
BLDGBLOG, which has “always been interested in learning how novelists see the city,” interviewed China Miéville about “the conceptual origins of the divided city featured in his… award-winning novel The City & The City,” among other things. Architects, fans of urban decay, and general lit nerds are going to have a field day with this link, I promise you.
“To age is to understand that the powers of total recovery are gone, are no longer anticipated (except by those who, having lost their marbles, no longer know what to anticipate).” The epistolary legacy of writers such as Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, and Elizabeth Bishop offers invaluable insight into the process of growing older, writes Robert Fay for The Atlantic. See also our own Lydia Kiesling on the narrative possibilities of leaked emails.
Zadie Smith's On Beauty takes home the Orange Prize.Map of the New Yorker caption contest winners. (via emdashes)Abebooks has put together some special pages celebrating its 10th anniversary. Check out Powers of 10 - which includes the list of most expensive books ever sold on the site - and the timeline, which shows what the site looked like at its humble beginnings. (thanks Laurie.)
“Most writers … don’t ask questions of a journalist,” writes How to Read a Novelist author John Freeman. But what of those that do? Over the course of a fifteen year career, Freeman has found that “what the novelists asked of me told me [a great deal] about them,” and that a big problem with the standard format for author interviews, after all, is that “the conventions of the interview deprive us of one thing a novelist does quite a bit, which is ask questions.” (Bonus: Freeman will be in conversation with Jennifer Egan Thursday night at McNally Jackson.)