Colson Whitehead has some advice: write the book that “scares you shitless.” In a recent, wide-ranging interview with John Freeman, the Underground Railroad author talks about why he wrote his latest novel, along with his methods for sussing out good ideas. You could also read our review of The Underground Railroad.
Now that NPR has begun fact checking his work, it’s come to light that David Sedaris is a liar. Or, he sort of embellishes. His work is ‘realish.’ So basically, he tells stories. On NPR. Which is feeling pretty sensitive abut the line between truth and truthiness after the Mike Daisey upset.
It appears that our own Sonya Chung’s consideration of underappreciated Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov played a role in getting one of his stories published in a forthcoming issue of PEN America.
If we were to buy ourselves a gift this year, it would be Penguin’s “One Hundred Book Covers in One Box” postcard set.
Last week, I mentioned Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes, which caused a stir in Germany with its tale of a time-hopping Hitler. Now, Daniel Torday reviews the book for the Times, judging it both for its historical research and its merits as a work of fiction. Sample quote: “The German public’s acceptance of the artist they think they’re watching provides a critique of pop culture. But it feels like bringing the Luftwaffe to a knife fight.”
“The presentation of himself as a damaged outsider, barely holding on, ups the dramatic ante, though it does seem at odds with the accomplished, balanced, commanding prose he appears able to muster with every sentence — not to mention his prestigious awards and teaching stints.” On Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering.
“If the history of the American sentence were a John Ford movie, its second act would conclude with the young Ernest [Hemingway] walking into a saloon, finding an etiolated Henry James slumped at the bar in a haze of indecision, and shooting him dead.” Adam Haslett takes on Stanley Fish, Strunk & White, and the art of writing a sentence.