“Thinking about his films while watching an American film leads to a sobering realization: all the things that Abbas Kiarostami could not show in his films became the only things Hollywood filmmakers chose to show in theirs. What he showed in his films were the things abandoned by Hollywood: conversation, friendship, understanding, compassion, and empathy.” A. S. Hamrah discusses Abbas Kiarostami’s legacy at n+1.
In another excellent essay from LARB’s new site, Morten Høi Jensen takes a close look at the work of Martin Amis to discuss the theme of masculinity, the arc of his oeuvre, the seductiveness of his distinct tone and the dangers of falling for it. For more on Amis, check out our expose of Invasion of the Space Invaders, the near-forgotten first work by Amis in which the young author details the gritty world of arcade gaming.
The most depressing favorable review of a TV show you’ll read this year, LA Review of Books shares why “Catfish: The TV Show” is so poignant and so very sad.
“Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.” Henry Alford explains the etiquette of books for The New York Times.
“Tracing the journey of a mediocre actor and Holocaust survivor ‘touched by some mysterious higher design’ as he forges and impersonates his way through the war and then back to the city of his birth, the story is part Samuel Beckett and part Isaac Bashevis Singer, with a sudden final bolt of O. Henry. It has the flavour of a morality tale, but what’s most fascinating to me is how difficult it is to derive a moral from it, or rather how easy it is to derive more than one and how openly they stand in conflict with each other.” Kevin Brockmeier extols the fiction of Leandro Sarmatz.
“This is minor, but I noticed a few typos. For instance, at various points on pages 144 through 148 and also on page 202, you wrote, ‘All wokr and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ And on page 308, it’s ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull Jack.’ If that one’s intentional, it provides a nice break from the preceding 307 pages, and the levity is a nice contrast to the monotony.” Notes on a Jack Torrance manuscript.