Over at The New York Times, Dwight Garner remembers the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch on the centennial of her birth. With many of her books no longer in print, Murdoch’s posthumous reputation leaves much to be desired, and her ardent fans seek to rectify this. “She was the rare kind of great, buoyant, confident writer who could drive the whole machine,” Garner writes. “She was as in touch with animal instincts as intellectual ones. The scope of her vision makes you feel, when you are close to her fiction, that you have glimpsed the sublime—that you have swum very near to a whale.”
“If rats then represent terror and chickens innocent striving for something approaching authenticity, humans, for Lispector, are strangely in the middle, often stricken with fear, or handing out terror, but ready also to soar or break loose or achieve some freedom or be fully alert to their fate in a time short enough for one of her stories to be enacted.” Colm Tóibín writes about Clarice Lispector’s The Complete Stories. You could also check out a Year in Reading by Katrina Dodson, translator of the collection and our review of the book.
Books by Friends, a semi-regular feature at The Atlantic, sees writer James Fallows recommend the works of authors he knows. This week, he praises a book on the history of flight, a prediction for the economy and a jeremiad on American politics by Gary Hart. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on Fallows and American decline.
Recommended Reading: An excerpt from comedian and Year In Reading alum Rob Delaney’s memoir, Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. “I haven’t been to war, so I can’t comment on what that experience is like, but people who go through rehab or a halfway house walk a tough road together and not all of them make it.”