“On January 14, 2017, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—America’s oldest and best circus, America’s last true touring circus—announced that it was closing, and six days later the country mourned, with an exit parade, a grand-finale funeral: the inauguration of Donald J. Trump.” Year-in-Reading alum Joshua Cohen, whose Book of Numbers spent seven months on our top-10 list back in 2015, and whose new novel Moving Kings made our most-anticipated list for the latter half of this year, reflects on the end of an era for The Point.
“Thinking about her life is like sifting ashes. You believe you see the clear outline of a message, but it inevitably disintegrates before you can be sure of its sense. The mantle of a ‘rediscovered writer’ has never settled firmly around [her] shoulders; she has a way of resisting the platitudes of remembering.” Michelle Dean on the writer Nella Larsen.
A couple weeks ago, Darcey Steinke wrote an essay for The Millions in which she remembered her friendship with Barry Hannah. She went into detail about the freewheeling energy of his prose. Now, in a review of Steinke’s latest for Bookforum, Lisa Locascio writes about the author’s own talents. “Many authors bounce the sacred and profane against each another; Steinke blasts them together with the intensity of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC),” she writes.
Lord Byron is perhaps our most prominent example of an extravagant writer in a bygone age. There’s a reason his antics earned him a popular adjective. However, he’s not the only writer from long ago to live large, as made clear in this New Yorker piece by Elizabeth Kolbert — inspired by the release of two new biographies — that deals with the up-and-down life and reputation of Seneca. Sample quote: “Seneca’s fortune made possible a life style that was lavish by Roman or, for that matter, Hollywood standards.”