In her new book, Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid used her own experience as a babysitter to explore the transactional relationship that exists when caring for someone’s child. Reid spoke to Concepción de León at The New York Times about the clashes of race and class that drive the action in her novel. “I definitely started from wanting to explore the awkwardness of transactional relationships,” Reid says, “but also bigger themes of ownership, from the small petty ones like ‘Oh, well, she’s our sitter’ or ‘I knew him, so he’s mine,’ to the awkward history of black women raising white children in this country. That just comes flooding back, no matter whether you like it or not, in certain interactions.”
As they begin preparation work on “Vacancies,” a special double-issue of their magazine, the folks at Heavy Feather Review have issued a call for writing that explores “the dimly lit corners of the unoccupied, unassuming, or idle.” For inspiration, look toward Philip Levine’s poem, “An Abandoned Factory, Detroit.”
In a big week for new releases, we have Lev Grossman’s The Magician King, the sequel to his blockbuster debut The Magicians; Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes, reviewed here today; another new Geoff Dyer book, The Missing of the Somme; DBC Pierre’s Lights Out in Wonderland; and Kevin Wilson’s debut novel The Family Fang (which one blurber calls The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf). Four of the five books above, incidentally, were featured in our big second-half preview. And out in a paperback this week are a pair of award winners: Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies and David Grossman’s To the End of the Land.
Are you the type of reader who craves the food described in novels like our own Nick Moran? Then take The Guardian’s “Food in fiction” quiz. Sample question: “According to the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, what kind of food is eaten tomorrow, yesterday, but never today?”
“There are people out there who want you to write their novels for them,” observes professional ghostwriter Sari Botton. Over at Scratch, she shares some advice for breaking into the industry. Also, the magazine has made her longer article about “the spooky finances behind her gigs” free to read – all you have to do is register.