Out this week: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon; Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras; The Marvellous Equations of the Dread by Marcia Douglas; Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar; and Brother by David Chariandy.
Reading War and Peace was always a challenge, but how much harder is it in an age of constant distraction? At Salon, Mike Harris, a self-confessed distraction addict, writes about his experience tackling the Russian classic. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on the book’s effect on perception.
This fantastic essay from The Rumpus argues for the abandonment of realism in American fiction. Charles Finch wrote an essay for The Millions on the truce between realism and fabulism in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude that pairs quite nicely.
NPR’s Maureen Corrigan applauds Barbara Kingsolver‘s Lacuna for “single-handedly keeping consumer zest alive for the literary novel,” as “the only literary novel caught in the cross hairs” of the price wars waged by Wal-mart, Amazon, and Target against booksellers (the others being genre novels). As for the book itself: “I wish I could say she also deserves kudos for writing a spectacular work of fiction…”
What inspired Samuel Clemens to change his name to Mark Twain? Was it a Mississippi riverboat captain? Did he earn it by “drinking at a one-bit saloon in Virginia City, Nevada?” Or, as rare book dealer Kevin Mac Donnell now alleges in the new issue of Mark Twain Journal, did the author find his pseudonym in a popular humor journal?