Out this week: Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart; The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker; The Wildlands by Abby Geni; After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel; Ponti by Sharlene Teo; River by Esther Kinsky; and The Golden State by our own Editor Lydia Kiesling.
To commemorate publication of the 65th anniversary edition of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style, New Directions has asked ten contemporary writers to “create new exercises in homage to Queneau.” Over at The Rumpus, you can check out Jonathan Lethem’s “Cyberpunk” exercise, as well as one of Queneau’s twenty eight “never before translated” exercises making its English debut in the new edition. Bonus: read our own Mark O’Connell on the “radical claims about the relationship between form and content” in Queneau’s writing.
At the New York Times, Elif Batuman has a long and absorbing article on the trial over Kafka’s manuscripts: “It’s impressive that [Kafka’s] sisters had between them four lawyers, although, to put things in perspective, Josef K. at one point meets a defendant who has six.”
Read Russia 2012 aims to celebrate contemporary Russian literature and book culture, and they’ve scheduled a bunch of events in the NYC area to coincide with next week’s BEA. You should certainly check them out, as well as NYRB Classics’ ongoing coverage of their own Russian literature highlights. (You can get even more information over here, too.)
You will not want to miss this possibly true ghost story from David Mitchell over at LitHub. This piece comes from the first installment of Freeman’s, which is out now, and which includes such fantastic writers as Mitchell, Haruki Murakami, and Louise Erdrich.
TNR‘s Ruth Franklin test-drives a new online dating service that “purports to match people based on their taste in literature.” Spoiler alert: Sebald lovers appear to be out of luck.
“Let the buppie and the arts section go to hell: Swiss Army Man is a film by which critics ought to judge ourselves. We have seen this movie before, in our dreams, when we were children. Its extraordinary contact with our oldest forms of storytelling seems to have rendered it an unintelligible novelty, but if we can’t see how gracefully everything in it matters to everything else in it — plot to character development to dialogue to music to art direction to setting to acting to cinematography — then there’s something wrong with us.” Daniel Radcliffe stars as a semi-animate, gas-filled corpse with amnesia in Swiss Army Man — a movie about farts. But what else is it about?