Out this week: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee; Disoriental by Négar Djavadi; Every Other Weekend by Zulema Renee Summerfield; Brown by Kevin Young; and The Only Story by Julian Barnes.
Landlord, patron, gardener, traveler— Elizabeth Gilbert is so much more than a memoirist. Steve Almond profiles Gilbert for The New York Times and finds out about her return to fiction with her new novel, The Signature of All Things. Yet Gilbert doesn’t disparage her Eat, Pray, Love fame and readers, even if others do. “I want to say: ‘Go [expletive] yourself! You have no idea who the women are who read my books, and if I have to choose between them and you, I’m choosing them.’”
“It’s not clear whether he really went mad or not, but he was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics—an admirably blunt name, no?”— Frank Key writes about Christopher Smart, “an intimate of Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, and Henry Fielding” and an excellent cat poet, for the Public Domain Review.
In his review of Ben Marcus‘s The Flame Alphabet for the LARB, Lee Konstantinou suggests that we have now moved well beyond the death of the author: “In an era where everyone has a novel waiting to come out, authors are legion; it’s the reader who seems, well, dead.” When we interviewed Marcus earlier this year he did not seem particularly mournful. We also reviewed the novel.
The Rumpus’s Stephen Elliott is using Kickstarter to raise money for the film adaptation of his novel Happy Baby. However you could also fund the project in a more three dimensional plane by attending November 29th’s Fundraising Party (which we’re co-sponsoring!). The party will include comedy by Eugene Mirman and readings by Jami Attenberg and Rick Moody.
To give context to a new William Vollmann essay about reading his own FBI profile (available to subscribers only, sadly), Harper’s Magazine published a few pages from Vollmann’s file online. Among other things, they reveal that the FBI considered Vollman “exceedingly intelligent and possessed with an enormous ego.” (For a taste of the Harper’s essay, you can read this WaPo article on Vollmann’s connection to the Unabomber.)