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.
“If the history of the American sentence were a John Ford movie, its second act would conclude with the young Ernest [Hemingway] walking into a saloon, finding an etiolated Henry James slumped at the bar in a haze of indecision, and shooting him dead.” Adam Haslett takes on Stanley Fish, Strunk & White, and the art of writing a sentence.
“What women do in the books mentioned here doesn’t consist of survival so much as sabotage. They throw bricks and rocks and flaming bottles into the chinks of the masculine world machine, then pick up a gun and fire into the turning gears. If rape and other sexual violence, religious servitude, and the politically determined inaccessibility of contraception can be seen as acts of war, stories like these may not just be a means of escapism. In the mind’s eye, they might be weapons, to be picked up, opened, and deployed.” At the Boston Review, Elizabeth Hand looks at women who fight back in fiction, from Gone Girl to Medea.
You wouldn’t think Grendel’s mother would win any awards for being a great mom, but Oyster is giving accolades to literature’s most horrifying mothers in honor of the holiday. The list also includes Madame Bovary’s Emma Bovary as the most selfish mother and Pride and Prejudice’s Mrs. Bennet as most nettlesome mother.
“You want to know who I am? If I wanted to have anything written on my tombstone, I would have, ‘Ask my children or ask my students.’ I actually never thought of it quite that way. That wouldn’t be a bad epitaph.” An excerpt from Studs Terkel‘s oral history of death, Will The Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith, is now available online.
Robert Fitterman, author of Nevermind, a book of poems created from Nirvana’s seminal album, interviews critic and scholar Paul Stephens about his own work and Nirvana’s art. Looking for more music related lit? Check out our Torch Ballads and Jukebox Music section.
“The rest of the morning went like that. We did synchronized clapping. We did active listening. We did a role-play exercise in which I was a girl waiting for a bus and Karloff was a masher, but when I started flirting back, she didn’t like it. I got four more cups of coffee and felt brokenhearted when my bottle gave up its last drop.” Philip Marlowe attends a court-mandated women’s studies workshop.