“The literature by Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans is out there for anyone who knows how to use Google. But so many here and abroad would rather not know, or when a new Vietnamese author is published, would prefer to say, ‘At last! A voice for the Vietnamese!’ In fact, there are so many voices, for the Vietnamese people are very loud.” Pulitzer Prize winner and Year in Reading alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) writes in The New York Times about the diversity of Vietnamese writing, too often ignored in favor of war narratives and the voices of American veterans. (For an incredible syllabus of books to fill in the gaps, see the middle of his piece.)
On their Tumblr, Little Fiction is previewing some of the books being released in 2014-2015 by authors they’ve recently worked with. Meanwhile, Chad Post put together “Le Translation Preview” to promote some international work being published this July. Think of both lists as complementary compendiums to our Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview.
“Thinking about his films while watching an American film leads to a sobering realization: all the things that Abbas Kiarostami could not show in his films became the only things Hollywood filmmakers chose to show in theirs. What he showed in his films were the things abandoned by Hollywood: conversation, friendship, understanding, compassion, and empathy.” A. S. Hamrah discusses Abbas Kiarostami’s legacy at n+1.
“Eleven years later, the Atlantic Monthly editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, made a similar request to an obscure, retiring poet named Emily Dickinson who had written a letter asking if her verses ‘breathed.’ Her response was much like Melville’s, if typically elliptical: ‘Could you believe me—without? I had no portrait, now, but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur—and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves—Would this do just as well?'” The age-old problem: how writers deal with publicity.
At this point, we’re all familiar with Cheryl Strayed’s transformative solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail that she wrote about in Wild. Yet at Condé Nast Traveler, she discusses how a recent family vacation to Laos reawakened her passion for travel. “Here we were on a sacred hill so far off from the place from which we had come, and so abundantly thankful for it. Perhaps the power of that very gratitude is the reason I travel.”
Over at the Literary Hub, Morgan Jerkins writes about the struggle to describe blackness. As she puts it, “My hope is to create imperfect, multitudinous black women who are more in tune with themselves than their audiences.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”