For PBS, Rion Amilcar Scott, author of the story collection, The World Doesn’t Require You, explores how the familiarity of clichés can comfort those in the midst of grieving. “Look, as a writer, all my training has taught me to be allergic to cliches,” Scott says. “If I were to somehow write that my mother’s death caused me to cry my eyes out, in revision, I would perhaps replace that stock phrase with a description of words lost in the crack of a voice trying to stifle back tears. Death, in all its devastating finality, though, won’t wait for a revision. Death won’t wait for you to dig through your soul in search of a blazing truth that will put a grieving spirit in order.”
“In the aftermath of tragedies, people become obsessive, do strange things. As the tragedy recedes and is sewn up into the past, these strange things appear increasingly weird to casual observers.” At The Rumpus, our own Lydia Kiesling reviews Donna Tartt’s new novel The Goldfinch, which centers around a fictional bombing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For most people, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is the beginning and end of mafia books, the sole notable entry in a sparse and little-known genre. That’s why it’s helpful that Roberto Dainotto, in The Guardian, published this list, which includes The Godfather, Eric Hobsbawm’s Primitive Rebels, and Alexander Stille’s Excellent Cadavers, among other picks.