For NPR, debut novelist Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai discusses her book, The Mountains Sing, which follows four generations of a Vietnamese family and centers on a grandmother and granddaughter. By combining family lore with historical research, she tells a story of a family dealing with the realities of war. “I could only write The Mountains Sing having lived through difficult times,” she explains. “Only through experiencing by myself the challenges faced by the poorest of the poor, the most desperate, could I have that empathy.”
“When someone asks me how I know someone and I say ‘the Internet,’ there is often a subtle pause, as if I had revealed we’d met through a benign but vaguely kinky hobby, like glassblowing class, maybe. The first generation of digital natives are coming of age, but two strangers meeting online is still suspicious…” Ah, the halcyon days of 2004 and internet anonymity.
“Given his devotion to empirical fact, it seems odd to think that Galileo’s most important ideas might have their roots not in the real world, but in a fictional one.” Galileo’s crucial contributions to physics may have come from measuring the hell of Dante’s Inferno.
Lit-mag Meanjin Quarterly is taking a cue from The Millions and kicking off a new series, The Best Australian Fiction of the 21st Century (so far).