“What knits together the families of Roth’s Newark are adults—some foreign-born but many the children of immigrants—who either experienced the insecurity and deprivation of the Old World themselves or heard stories about it from their own parents. What they want most is to find stability in a neighborhood, in a city, and in a country that offers them the chance at security for their families.” On Philip Roth and Newark, NJ.
There are three kinds of readers of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest: those who feel some niggling guilt about that brick on their bookshelf, those who’ve read it (proudly) but secretly may have no idea what happened in that tangled ending, and the people responsible for this excellent infographic. (Complement with cached commentary at Infinite Summer and a guide to the geography of Wallace’s Boston.)
Out this week: The Last Kid Left by Rosecrans Baldwin; The Answers by Catherine Lacey; Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim; Perennials by Mandy Berman; Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar; and The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
V.S. Naipaul (seemingly a professional misogynist at times) rankled many by suggesting there are no women writers that can equal him and calling Jane Austen “sentimental.” Now the Guardian offers up a quiz that challenges readers to identify the gender of an author simply by reading a passage of his or her writing.
With the full trailer out for the upcoming James Bond release, Skyfall, I have to confess I’m totally obsessing over British spy stuff of late. Luckily there are some supplements to scratch that itch: Tina Rosenberg’s new story for The Atavist, D for Deception, about a real British spy writer who became a spy himself; Bee Wilson’s fascinating review of Ben MacIntyre’s outrageous but true investigation of WWII double agents, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies; Alexander Cockburn’s recap of the time George Orwell supplied “a list of the names of persons on the left who he deemed security risks” to the IRD; the story of Ernest Hemingway’s lousy espionage; and the video Her Royal Majesty’s recent skydiving escapade with 007.