Whether they’re expected or not, houseguests often add intrigue and excitement to a novel. For The Guardian, author Jessica Francis Kane (who recently spoke to The Millions about her fourth book, Rules for Visiting) lists some of her favorite houseguests in literature, including King Lear, Jane Bennet, and more. “Allegedly there are only two kinds of story: someone goes on a journey, or someone comes to town. Either way the person has to stay somewhere, so the houseguest story is everywhere once you start looking for it.”
The new book release schedule is slow in December, but the third book in Javier Marías’ acclaimed Your Face Tomorrow trilogy is now out, Poison, Shadow, and Farewell. Also, new on shelves is The True Deceiver, a 1982 novel by the Finnish writer Tove Jansson from NYRB Classics.
“That’s always been part of my goal — to show the dark side of women. Men write about bad men all the time, and they’re called antiheroes. … What I read and what I go to the movies for is not to find a best friend, not to find inspirations, not necessarily for a hero’s journey. It’s to be involved with characters that are maybe incredibly different from me, that may be incredibly bad but that feel authentic.” Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed talk with The New York Times about the adaptations for Gone Girl, Wild, and writing credible characters. Their conversation pairs well with our own Edan Lepucki‘s essay on likability in fiction.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the “Ted Wilson Reviews the World” series over at Electric Literature. This week, he takes on everyone’s (least?) favorite confection — sprinkles. Unsurprisingly, sprinkles score a bit higher than Anxiety did a couple weeks ago: “Sprinkles can take an ordinary cupcake and turn it into a cupcake that looks like a rainbow shattered and fell all over it, and then the leprechaun at the end of that rainbow hid inside the cupcake and the only way to get him is to eat it.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has named author Lesley Nneka Arimah its 2017 Artist of the Year. They note, “Arimah is at the forefront of a growing number of young authors, primarily immigrants and writers of color — in the Twin Cities, as well as across the country — who are writing some of the most original and interesting fiction and poetry being published today.” Arimah is the author of the short story collection What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, a 2017 Year in Reading favorite. She was also honored as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” and named as a finalist for the John Leonard Prize. Congratulations!