Out this week: The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer; The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory; A Long Way Home by Peter Carey; Claude Before Time and Space by Claudia Emerson; and The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa.
In case you missed it, this past weekend The New York Review of Books likely outed the author who’s been writing under the nom de plume of Elena Ferrante. Condemnation was fast and furious, including pieces by n+1 and this fantastic Twitter thread by critic Lili Loofbourow. We join the chorus of voices who would rather direct the attention back to Ferrante’s work. Might we suggest starting with this piece about The Neapolitan Quartet‘s subversive power?
“The first sentence, itself described as a ‘decoy for attention’ in a 1930 story on the new art, is a lure within a lure, created in a new economy increasingly predicated on commercial diversification and instant appeal, in a book market that had never been so populated.” Electric Lit takes us through the history of the novel’s first sentence. Pair with our essay on the art of the opening sentence.
A new collection of non-fiction by Jonathan Franzen, Farther Away: Essays, is out today. Also out is Laurent Binet’s HHhH, from which we recently published some redacted scenes. Other new releases this week include Rosecrans Baldwin’s memoir Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down and Nobel laureate Herta Müller’s The Hunger Angel.
“We are here to take creative risks and to do the sort of work that commercial broadcasters might be more reluctant to do. But we also have a real responsibility and a requirement to reflect a range of British communities.” Bestill our hearts, the BBC is adapting Vikram Seth‘s A Suitable Boy as its first period drama with a non-white cast, reports The Telegraph. Our own Lydia Kiesling described Seth’s epic as “a spectacularly romantic novel, weddings all over,” but noted sadly that “it portends falling in love with the man you can marry, in lieu of the one that you can’t.”
You’ve probably heard the internet adage, “If it exists, there is a porn of it.” Never has that been truer than in the case of the political erotica of 2016. From a particularly colorful Cruz/Rubio series: “’Who is this Hillary you’ve been texting?’ Rubio asks Cruz. ‘Saying things like ‘meet me when Marco’s not home,’ ‘I can hook you up,’ ‘what’s the price’ … don’t act all naïve right now!'”
Move over, Mr. Darcy and Edward Cullen: The readers of Mills & Boon romance novels (the UK’s answer to Harlequin romances) have voted Mr. Rochester of Charlotte Bronte‘s Jane Eyre the most romantic hero in literature.
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Sonia Faleiro takes a look at the “book boys of Mumbai” who participate in India’s quasi-illegal pirated book market. (It’s an issue also discussed in Akshay Pathak’s most recent dispatch on Indian publishing.) Faleiro notes that books often appear on the streets as soon as they’re released to stores – and also that by 1999, as much as “20 to 25 percent of all books sold in the country were pirated.” Meanwhile, the former production editor in me wonders, how the heck are they re-printing these books so quickly?