Out this week: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie; The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek; How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas; The World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein; A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton; Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini; and The Mountain by Paul Yoon. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“There’s no doubt that Life A User’s Manual takes an approach to depicting reality that is very different from the standard realist novel, which we have been conditioned to believe is the best and most-preferred way of representing our world…Though not without its enlightening aspects, this conversation has generally fallen into a simplistic dichotomy, where realist writing is described as giving us the real world of everyday life, and anything other than realist writing is seen as directing its energies toward a vague something that no one cares to define very well.” A look at Oulipo and its legacy from Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, who recently wrote an Oulipo-themed Year in Reading for us.
Did you read a short story today? He did.Samantha Hunt scribbles on bar napkins.Deborah Eisenberg not only writes great stories; she also gives a great interview.A Peter Markus story – free! – at failbetter.com.A Ben Fountain story – free! – at The Barcelona Review.Bookslut chats up Elizabeth Crane.Death is dead (via Conversational Reading).
Ian Crouch writes for The New Yorker about a new version of The Sun Also Rises, which gives readers a peak into Hemingway‘s drafts and revisions. Crouch believes that by reading these drafts carefully, one can pick out a “minor manifesto” that “conceives of a book with greater intellectual and artistic ambitions than Hemingway ever produced.” In the words of Hemingway’s character Jake Barnes, “Isn”t it pretty to think so?” Pair with our own review of the latest edition of The Sun Also Rises.
Comic book creator, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, lyricist — is there anything Neil Gaiman hasn’t done? He can add professor to his already impressive resume soon. Gaiman will be joining the Bard College faculty and teaching an advanced fantasy fiction workshop in the 2014 spring semester. Also, he recently spoke to NPR about Sandman.
At Page-Turner, Daphne Merkin reads Catherine Lacey’s Nobody Is Ever Missing, which follows the journey of a disenchanted New Yorker as she hitchhikes her way through New Zealand. The novel, Merkin writes, features what Leslie Jamison, in her recent essay collection, termed a “post-wounded woman.”