“Set in the 2020s and 2030s in a collapsing and crashed America, the Parables books have always seemed incredibly and disturbingly prescient—and in the wake of November 8, 2016 they now seem downright spooky, the actual and accurate history of the future.” How Octavia Butler predicted the present. See also: our consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
In a piece for Public Books Rebecca Steinitz reviews some recent historical novels, including The Luminaries and The Invention of Wings, and argues that the best historical fiction “plunges the reader wholly into the past, enlightening and entertaining us, while also making us reflect on our present, in history and in literature.” Pair her piece with Laila Lalami‘s account of “How History Becomes Story.”
There’s an oxymoron for you: “Rich Poet.” But the new fortunes of Emirati poet Saif Al Mansouri prove that with talent, grit, and a live television audience, truly anything is possible. The UAE show “Millionaire’s Poet,” in its sixth season, awarded $1.3 million (the Nobel Prize. for comparison, is $1.2 million) to winner Al Mansouri, and perhaps something even more valuable – a global audience of up to 70 million, actually tuning in.
Park Slopers, I’ll be reading tonight at 7 p.m. at The Community Bookstore on 7th Avenue, with our former guest contributor Joshua Henkin and some other folks, in celebration of the long running literary magazine Glimmer Train. It would be lovely to see some familiar faces, or new ones.
If you thought Michel Houellebecq was controversial, let me direct your attention to Kenneth Goldsmith. In this piece, the poet that everyone loves to hate asserts his desire “to take Walter Benjamin off the pedestal and on to the coffee table.” His newest, Capital, is out now.