At BOMB Magazine, Leah Hampton discusses her debut collection, F*ckface: And Other Stories, which takes a closer look at lives in the modern-day American South. “My mother’s side is just like my dad’s—very working class, factory-floor socialist types,” Hampton says. “Everybody in my family always worked, and I’m the first person to finish college, write a book, etc. I often like to say I’m a bifurcated woman, half European in my thinking, half pissed-off mountain girl. Half in this Appalachian world, and half out. I think that’s a good vantage point from which to write fiction. Especially if you’re writing about a place that’s as bittersweet, complicated, and storied as this region.”
Recommended Reading/Listening: Maia Evrona’s translation and recitation of a poem by Abraham Sutzkever, who has been called one of the primary poets of the Holocaust. Gabriel Brownstein’s essay for The Millions on what it means to be a “Jewish writer” is a good complementary piece.
More amusement has been prompted by The History of Love author Nicole Krauss’s arguably over-the-top blurb for David Grossman’s To the End of the Land: “To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being.” Following Guardian’s subsequent contest for who can write the most absurdly laudatory blurb for a Dan Brown novel, Laura Miller at Salon dissects why author endorsements are so unreliable.
“How can we trust ourselves? Trust that our skills will return? Trust that this blank document—this one, right now—won’t be our undoing? The previous essay I wrote won’t save me when the blank document stares, and the deadline looms, and the editor lurks, and the readers wait.” Mensah Demary on writing and forgetting.