“To age is to understand that the powers of total recovery are gone, are no longer anticipated (except by those who, having lost their marbles, no longer know what to anticipate).” The epistolary legacy of writers such as Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, and Elizabeth Bishop offers invaluable insight into the process of growing older, writes Robert Fay for The Atlantic. See also our own Lydia Kiesling on the narrative possibilities of leaked emails.
A moving tribute to Ray Bradbury on The Paris Review Daily from his one time fact checker Stephen Andrew Hiltner: “Ray Bradbury, who never went to college and was entirely library educated, had what so many of the sophisticated, MFA-carrying writers today lack: passion, vitality, emotional awareness.” Also: Wired has collected a bunch of reminiscences from science fiction writers, including Ursula K. Le Guin.
A new anthology out from Da Capo Press, Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book, includes an essay by David Foster Wallace’s widow, Karen Green, on how books helped her cope with his death: “I’ll try not to use the word survive. I think I’ve determined, by trial and error, that certain underlined, highlighted, and dog-eared books, in conjunction with pharmaceuticals, are beneficial after a trauma. What was it the realtor called it? ‘The Incident.’ Books can be helpful after an Incident.” (Thanks, Diavanna)
The third volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard‘s My Struggle was released on Tuesday. In a recent review for The Daily Beast, Ted Gioia argues that “we read [My Struggle] with horror and delight, because the protagonist—who is Karl Ove Knausgaard himself—is determined to reveal every embarrassing and shameful detail of his past life. Imagine a literary novel with grand Proustian ambitions, but combined with the ethos of those creepy Jackass-type reality shows in which contestants get a dose of renown by making fools of themselves. That’s the spirit of My Struggle.” For a second opinion, be sure to check out our own review of the novel’s earlier installments.