Out this week: The Mothers by Brit Bennett; The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky; Him, Me, Muhammad Ali by Randa Jarrar; Future Sex by Emily Witt; Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner; Upstream by Mary Oliver; and Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
The semiotics-department backdrop to Jeffrey Eugenides’s new novel, The Marriage Plot, seems to have sparked a new mode of confessional writing. But Theorists are so seductive because they are, themselves, essentially literary.
In the NYRB, a new article on Chris Ware, accompanied by an old joke — dreamt up by none other than Gore Vidal — that a hypothetical New York Review of Comic Books might replace its eponymous predecessor. Last week, our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Mr. Ware’s latest book.
“Not infrequently I unravelled what I had done, continuously tormented by scruples that were taking tighter hold and steadily paralysing me. These scruples concerned not only the subject of my narrative, which I felt I could not do justice to, no matter what approach I tried, but also the entire questionable business of writing.” On W.G Sebald and unsatisfactory communication from The Nation.
In 2010, the poet Tarfia Faizullah traveled to Bangladesh to speak with the survivors of the 1971 Liberation War. Eventually, she wrote a poetry collection about those interviews, which went on to win the Crab Orchard Series First Book Award. At The Paris Review Daily, Sean Carman interviews Faizullah.
Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is probably the best-known recent example of a memoir that centers on a journey through a harsh landscape. There’s another one that deserves your attention, too — Kathleen Winter’s Boundless, which tells the tale of the writer’s voyage through the icebound Northwest Passage. At The Guardian, a review of the memoir.
“We have all heard the claim, ‘the victors write the textbooks.’ Among the many ways to unpack the phrase is this: that once upon a time history was bound to and relied on communally agreed upon facts. That is to say, there was not a culture of record the way there is now. There were not cameras and photographs capturing all human movement or digital archives where information was stored in ‘clouds.’ While our methods for remembering have evolved, the ethical question at the heart of recollection remains: how do we tell about the past and who gets to tell it?” Lindsey Drager writes for the Michigan Quarterly Review about memory and storytelling.