“How can a horrific event, so monstrous it seems incomprehensible, be told? How does one even find the words to write about it?” For The Paris Review, Matteo Pericoli takes a look at Slaughterhouse-Five and the bridge between fiction and architecture.
Another week of literary contests has whittled the Tournament of Books field down to four: Freedom, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Next, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Today, the team offers more analysis, previewing and recapping. Up next: the semis, the Zombie round, and the grand finale.
“Writing an autobiography was therapeutic and traumatic at times, but unlike the novel it continues its therapies and trauma long after I’ve written it.” Laura van den Berg interviews Porochista Khakpour about the differences between novels and memoirs, structure, and Khakpour’s upcoming memoir, Sick. (Sick is one of our most anticipated June releases).
“Born Guan Moye, he chose his pen name—“Don’t Talk”—to honor his mother’s caution against talking too much and in sardonic recognition of his failure to heed her warning. Yet I have been struck by his quiet and unassuming presence at literary conferences in Beijing, where he offered kind encouragement in private meetings but evinced a shy persona in public.” On the contradictions of last year’s Nobel laureate, Mo Yan.
Apart from being one of America’s most eminent fiction writers, Eudora Welty was also an accomplished photographer, as evidenced by the hundreds of images she produced while employed by the Works Progress Administration in the midst of the Great Depression. As Danny Heitman writes, she was also known as a great public speaker, in part because, as she put it, “I’m always on time, and I don’t get drunk or hole up in a hotel with my lover.” (h/t The Paris Review)
“And so despite my esteem for the high challenge of writing, for the reach of the writerly life, it’s not something anyone actually wants me to do. The American mind has made that very clear, it has said: ‘Be a specialised something — fill your head with the zeitgeist, with the technical — and we’ll write your ticket.’”
“I don’t start with disorder; I start with the tradition. If you’re not trained in the tradition, then deconstruction means nothing.” On Derrida, Foucault, and the deconstructionist defense of the canon.