It’s fitting in a strange way that the author of Being There is now the subject of an oddball novel-turned-biography. In the Times, Benjamin Markovits reads Jerome Charyn’s book Jerzy, which gives the life of Jerzy Kosinski a treatment he’d likely appreciate.
In 1945 and 1946, the FBI began keeping tabs on Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. The Cold War was just around the corner, and the Bureau suspected their new targets were secretly agents of Communism. However, FBI agents who followed the French writers evolved in the course of their spying: they became, in G.K. Chesterton’s phrase, “philosophical policemen.” (h/t Slate)
In the late fifties, an old flame of Samuel Beckett, Ethna MacCarthy, fell ill and died of throat cancer in Dublin. Around this time, female voices began to enter Beckett’s work, which up until that point had featured almost exclusively male characters. Was there a connection? In a review of a new edition of Beckett’s letters, Fintan O’Toole suggests that there was. You could also read Elizabeth Winkler on the author’s bilingual oeuvre.
“Soldiers eat beef teriyaki and chicken cavatelli M.R.E.s in a war zone where ‘armored ruins’ line the roads, ‘charred corpses scattered in among the blasted metal’; and sniper fire and I.E.D. ambushes are a constant threat: ‘the chaos out there, the crazy Arabic writing and abu-jabba jabber, the lawless traffic, the hidden danger and buzz and stray bullets and death looming from every overpass.'” Michiko Kakutani reviews Roy Scranton’s War Porn for The New York Times. Here’s an old review from The Millions that shares a bit of Scranton’s lingering sentiment regarding the war.
Peter Hedges, author of the novel and screenplay for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, as well as Dan in Real Life, and Pieces of April, is set to adapt and direct his latest novel, The Heights. Set in Brooklyn Heights amid its wealthy, over-zealous, stay-at-home mommy set, the novel follows a happy, slightly down-at-the-heel couple as their marriage is tested by the arrival of another woman. (All of the wit of Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, but not quite so dark and cynical.)