In 2014, Édouard Louis published his first book, The End of Eddy, about his traumatic childhood in northern France. He was 21. This year, he published his third, titled Who Killed My Father. The title, he tells The Guardian in an interview, is “not a question; it’s a declaration.” Louis talks about violence, poverty, and the gilets jaunes movement: “I was bowled over when the movement started and suddenly I saw these bodies we see very little in public spaces and that I try to make visible in my books. The gilets jaunes movement made reality smash right into politics.”
At Newsweek, Jeremy McCarter reviews The Cross of Redemption, a new anthology of James Baldwin’s previously uncollected essays and public letters: “At a time when serious people claim we live in a ‘post-racial’ society, the reappearance of Baldwin’s writing—insistent, accusatory, outraged—feels like a terrible family secret coming to light in an Ibsen play, or Banquo’s ghost showing up to spoil the party.”
Slang, as readers of Shakespeare know, affects the development of language as much as any genus of terminology. At Salon, Jonathon Green writes about the strange history of English slang, as part of an excerpt from his new book, The Vulgar Tongue. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on the use of “like” in modern English.
Version 2 of McSweeney’s quirky iPhone app includes an ebookstore with custom-designed ebooks. “Whereas most ebooks have weird line breaks, stretched type and clunky fonts, ours are actually designed so they look just as they do in print – clean and beautiful.”
“A perfect example of what the short story can do when the form is at its best: containing as much of an emotional blow as that of a 800-page novel, regardless of its brevity.” The Guardian awards its 4th Estate BAME short story prize to “Auld Lang Syne” by Lisa Smith. The prize was launched in 2015 in response to a report “which found that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) writers struggled both to get published and against stereotypes imposed by the UK’s overwhelmingly white publishing industry.”
Buying a hawk isn’t the most common grief-coping mechanism, but it worked for Helen Macdonald, who purchased a predatory bird not long after her father passed away. Her new book, H is for Hawk, deals with the experience, in addition to being a falconry manual of sorts. At The Globe and Mail, an interview with the author.
Recommended Reading: Anne Barngrover’s poem “My Lover Vows to Follow Me Even after He Leaves Me” at Paper Darts. “If trust is to hem your promises/into my jacket lining like folded dollars during/an ice storm, then I have been trusting all my life.”