It doesn’t get much better than James Wood on Joy Williams: “Nothing is stranger (and funnier) in Williams’s work than her details. Like her forms, they only resemble conventional realist details, an atmosphere perhaps encouraged by her flat, functional sentences (“They danced. Sam had quite a bit to drink”). The details are frequently surreal, magical, hallucinogenic, delivered in a cool, dispassionate, routine manner.”
At W, a first look at American actress Rooney Mara in character as Lisbeth Salander. The relatively unknown Mara, recently of David Fincher‘s The Social Network, has been cast as Salander to Daniel Craig‘s Mikael Blomkvist in Fincher’s American film version of Stieg Larsson‘s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The obvious question: does Mara have the chops to outshine Noomi Rapace‘s Salander?
Erin Morgenstern‘s debut novel The Night Circus went from National Novel Writing Month project to 6-figure book advance after being rejected by more than 30 agents.
Flavorwire has compiled a list of the best literary criticism of the year, ranging from Rebecca Solnit on Lolita to Elena Ferrante on literary publicity. Also check out this year’s most notable Millions pieces, from our star-studded Year in Reading to a literary reader for Lent.
In his new book, one of three coming out now or soon, Australian poet Clive James assembles his decades of knowledge into a series of mini-essays, many of which originally appeared in Poetry magazine. At Slate, Katy Waldman reads the collection, explaining why it gave her the urge to quote James ad infinitum. You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on the poet’s book Cultural Amnesia.