Out this week: American Histories by John Edgar Wideman; Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen; The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman; Aetherial Worlds by Tatyana Tolstaya; and Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen.
Whatever your thoughts on Will Self’s claim that the novel as we know it is dead, it’s important to keep in mind, as Daniel D’Addario helpfully illustrates, that we’ve heard this claim before. At Salon, he goes all the way back to 1902 to trace the legacy of a long-held fear.
“Would I have carried myself with the same swagger, or faced adversity with such feminine resolve, without Albertine as my guide?…I was drawn to a striking, remote face—rendered violet on black—on a dust jacket proclaiming its author ‘a female Genet.’ It cost 99 cents, the price of a grilled cheese and coffee at the Waverly Diner, just across Sixth Avenue. I had a dollar and a subway token, but after reading the first few lines I was smitten—one hunger trumped another and I bought the book.” Patti Smith introduces Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin, recently rereleased by New Directions.
The deadline for DIAGRAM’s annual essay contest is fast approaching. Past winners include Peter Jay Shippy’s “Goonies: or Wallace Stevens’s ‘The Snowman’–an Essay in 7 Films” and (my all-time favorite) Cheyenne Nimes’s “SECTION 404 OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THE SANTA CRUZ RIVER SAND SHARK, SUBTITLED ‘THIS TROUBLESOME REGULATORY CONSTRAINT’.”
We celebrated Canada Day a bit early here yesterday with the news that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and our review of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. So what is Canadian literature exactly? Atwood offered her definition for The Daily Beast: “It’s too multiple [to give a concise definition], but let us say that the point of view (if the writer is not pretending to be American, which they often are) is never that of someone who feels that their country is an imperial power. Because, in fact, Canada is not an imperial power.” You can also see The Handmaid’s Tale at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet next week.
Out this week: Brown Dog by Jim Harrison; a new paperback edition of Heidegger’s Poetry, Language, Thought; In the Night of Time by Antonio Muñoz Molina; a collection of Nick Hornby’s Believer columns; and a new biography of William and Dorothy Wordsworth.