Susan Sontag once wrote that the truest way to portray illness was without metaphor. Our own Marie Myung-Ok Lee takes a look at autism in recent literature and the ways its writers (ranging from Don DeLillo, Jonathan Lethem, and Louise Erdrich) have often reduced those with autism to a literary construct.
Another big week for books is headlined by Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue (the book’s opening lines) and Junot Díaz’s This Is How You Lose Her. Also out are Susan Straight’s Between Heaven and Here, touted debuts The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, How Music Works by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and Bob Woodward’s latest Beltway tick-tock The Price of Politics.
What happens when a literary fiction writer tackles YA? If that writer is Sherman Alexie, he produces an award-winning book that rivals the quality of his books in other genres. At the Ploughshares blog, Annie Cardi writes about writers who’ve made this transition, including Alexie, Roddy Doyle and Louise Erdrich. You could also read our survey of high school students on the best YA books of 2013.
What would the child of The Big Lebowski characters The Dude (Jeff Bridges) and Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) look like? Maybe like Lt. Col. Django (Bridges, again), one of the characters in Grant Heslov‘s The Men Who Stare at Goats, set to release in November, a comedy about the U.S. military’s attempt to train psychic soldiers (based on the book by Jon Ronson).
If you haven’t had a chance to finish perusing the New York Times Style Magazine’s ‘The Greats’ issue make sure you at least find the time to read Dave Eggers profile of Year in Reading alum Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is on one of their seven covers and if you’ve ever wanted to know about her family and what kind of reading she wants to do more of, this is the interview for you. “‘That boy,” she said, and sighed. She was still thinking about Edwyn. ‘There was something so clean and pure and true about his writing, don’t you think? Increasingly I find that that’s the kind of thing I want to read.'”
From Nebuchadnezzar to Hippocrates to the Victorian asylum: The Paris Review takes a look at mental illness and its treatments across the centuries.