Tom Wolfe, known as much for his personal as his narrative style, died on Monday of this week, reports The New York Times. An author of both critically and commercially acclaimed fiction — The Bonfire of the Vanities — and non-fiction — The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test — Wolfe was a mandarin of the New Journalism style that first became ascendant in the 1960s. Several of his books (including Vanities and The Right Stuff, about the early days of the U.S. space program) also became successful films. We reviewed Wolfe’s 16th book, The Kingdom of Speech, in 2016, as well as his 2012 novel Back to Blood, noting that in classic Wolfe-ian form, the latter “is obsessed with cultural abrasion, with the way different classes and races vie for power.”
New this week: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride; Night Film by Marisha Pessl; The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer; The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally; and Holy Orders, a new Quirke novel by John Banville/Benjamin Black. For more on these and other upcoming releases, check out our Great 2013 Second-Half Book Preview.
After securing the necessary funds on its Kickstarter page, and after enduring Lindsay Lohan’s trademark version of “professionalism,” The Canyons looks like it will finally be released next month. The film, which was written by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader, got its first official trailer this week.
In August of 1911, Franz Kafka and his future literary executor Max Brod paid a visit to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. It was, all told, a weird time to make such a trip, because a week before the two arrived in Paris, crafty thieves abducted the famous painting. So why did they go if there wasn’t a painting to see? To look at the absence, of course. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
What could be better than a summer evening with a tasty book and a witty drink? In The Spectator, various bookworms meditate on their experiences with literature and alcohol. Pair with a gorgeous essay on summer reading in The Paris Review: “books are a kind of island.”