A formidable group of authors, including Year in Reading alum Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker, and Rich Benjamin, comment on Donald Trump’s rise to power. You could also consider this literary cage match between Trump, Faulkner, and Hemingway.
“There’s no doubt that Life A User’s Manual takes an approach to depicting reality that is very different from the standard realist novel, which we have been conditioned to believe is the best and most-preferred way of representing our world…Though not without its enlightening aspects, this conversation has generally fallen into a simplistic dichotomy, where realist writing is described as giving us the real world of everyday life, and anything other than realist writing is seen as directing its energies toward a vague something that no one cares to define very well.” A look at Oulipo and its legacy from Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, who recently wrote an Oulipo-themed Year in Reading for us.
“Should we understand a photographic document as being first and foremost an artifact of memory, a light-written ghost? Or is it more important to stress its status as a material thing created from pigment, silver, emulsion, paper, plastic, glass, silicon sensors, pulses of electricity? Or is the photograph primarily an opportunity to take or make, an arena for a special type of action?” On Polaroids, instantaneous photography, and memory over at The Nation.
Out this week: Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen; The Jezebel Remedy by Martin Clark; Second Life by S.J. Watson; The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall; Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos; The Household Spirit by Tod Wodicka; Valley Fever by Katherine Taylor; and Rise by Karen Campbell. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2015 Book Preview.
The film adaptation of Macbeth being helmed by Snowtown Murders director Justin Kurzel will star Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, reports Vulture. The movie will feature “Shakespeare’s original linguistic stylings” as well as “a visceral approach to the story including significant battle scenes,” and it is set to begin production this year.
“Her only ‘crime’ has been that she has used her ‘freedom of speech’ to attract attention to injustice, because her conscience will not allow her to remain silent.” A campaign calls for the release of Aslı Erdoğan, an acclaimed Turkish novelist currently being held by her government on nebulous charges. Also did you know: our own editor-in-chief, Lydia Kiesling, speaks Turkish?
Francine Prose has an idiosyncratic theory that the Hindu god Ganesh is a vital part of her writing process. In a VQR essay, she explains that her portrait of the deity (which she purchased forty years ago at a bazaar in Mumbai) gives her a kind of confidence that goes beyond superstition. As support for this belief, she points out that Ganesh is known in some quarters as “the writer’s god.”