Few classic and contemporary author pairings seem as apt as Edith Wharton and Jia Tolentino. Thanks to Modern Library, the two are finally together in a new edition of The Custom of the Country, Wharton’s novel of manners set in New York’s high society. In her introduction, Tolentino paints the novel’s heroine, Undine Spragg, as an easily relatable figure for today’s readers: “For my money, no literary antiheroine can best Undine—a dazzling monster with rose-gold hair, creamy skin, and a gaping spiritual maw that could swallow New York City. People like her have been abundant in American culture for some time, but I never feel invested in their success; more often, I idly hope for their failure. With Undine, however—thanks to the alchemical mix of sympathy and disdain that animates Wharton’s language in the novel and allows her to match Undine’s savagery with plenty of her own—I find myself wanting her to get everything she desires.”
“So a single image can split open the hard seed of the past, and soon memory pours forth from every direction, sprouting its vines and flowers up around you till the old garden’s taken shape in all its fragrant glory.” Read an excerpt from Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir at Longreads. Pair with Beth Kephart’s essay on how memoir can be a conversation between reader and writer.
The August issue of Open Letters is available. Nestled amidst the literary fare are early Oscar nominations from Sarah Hudson and a piece on the video game The Sims by Phillip A. Lobo.Electric Literature teamed up with animator Jonathan Ashley and musician Nick DeWitt to produce an animated trailer for Jim Shepard’s “Your Fate Hurtles Down at You,” a story which appeared in the literary magazine’s first issue.BOMB Magazine has a conversation between poker buddies Nam Le and Charles D’Ambrosio.Years ago, we wrote about La Porte, Indiana, a nifty book with a connection to Found Magazine chronicling a cache of found photographs from a small town. Now the book is being made into a documentary.Nicholson Baker has written the funniest piece yet about the Kindle. Ed initially takes umbrage (and gets comments from Baker and recants somewhat). YPTR weighs in as well.Spoiler Alert: neojapansme, a provider (along with our own Ben Dooley) of quite a bit of insight into Murakami’s new (and untranslated) novel 1Q84 has published a review of the book.Millions Fans: The Millions Facebook group now has over 400 members. We’ll be asking group members to help us with some upcoming special features, so join up (if you’re into that sort of thing.)Shatner… Palin… Twitter… bongos… need we say more?