Lucy Ellmann’s Booker Prize-nominated novel, Ducks, Newburyport, is 1,030 pages of stream of consciousness writing narrated by an Ohio housewife—not exactly the kind of book one easily translates into the audio format. Yet actress Stephanie Ellyne was tasked with just that, as Laura Snapes at the Guardian explains. “For 45 hours and 34 minutes, Ellyne reads Ellmann’s text in a calm, bemused voice that recalls Laurie Anderson’s spoken-word work. During recording, she averaged 41 pages per hour, though the work continued away from the microphone. Every night, Ellyne would read and research the following day’s pages, working out how to pronounce the thousands of place names and obscure historical battles in US history. ‘My engineer and I wondered if some of them were fictional, but sure enough, they’re true,’ says Ellyne. ‘The violence in America—all these shootings—isn’t new.'”
Out this week: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; Shining Sea by Anne Korkeakivi; White Nights in Split Town City by Annie DeWitt; War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans; How to Party with an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings; Arrowood by Laura McHugh; and The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
The book I co-edited, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, got its Publishers Weekly review this week – a very nice writeup. Also spotted this week, a longer consideration of the book at tumblr Feriatus.
Thanks to the work of archivists at The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, two scholars have unearthed a 1901 play by Edith Wharton called “The Shadow of a Doubt,” reports The Guardian. “After all this time, nobody thought there were long, full scale, completed, original, professional works by Wharton still out there that we didn’t know about. But evidently there are. In 2017, Edith Wharton continues to surprise.” Pair with this reflection on the role of New York City in Wharton’s novels.