Gayl Jones published her first novel, Corregidora, in 1975, which was hailed by writers like James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and John Updike—then she disappeared from the literary scene. Now she is releasing her first novel in 20 years, and at the Atlantic, Calvin Baker, takes a closer look at her fractured career. “The tentacles of slavery in the present day have grown into a principal concern of Black literature, and Jones’s early work was absorbed into this canon almost imperceptibly,” Baker writes. “Over time, her literary ambitions would evolve, as she published and then receded from the public eye, published and then receded. This spring, she self-published her first novel in 21 years—Palmares, a six-volume work about the last fugitive-slave settlement in Brazil. In mid-June, Beacon Press bought the rights to the book, with plans to release it in September 2021. In the sprawling narrative, set in the 17th century, Jones’s feats of linguistic and historical invention are on ample display.”
This past week GOOD laid off most of their editorial staff, including former Executive Editor and creator of the #realtalk From Your Editor tumblog Ann Friedman. Posting some extra #realtalk on her blog yesterday, Friedman announced that the band of former GOOD editors are looking for work and also launching their own magazine: Tomorrow.
Recommended Viewing: Year in Reading alumna Rachel Fershleiser’s TED talk “Why I heart the Bookternet” on building reading communities through the internet. “The more tools that we get for communication and collaboration, the more we’re taking reading and writing — these really solitary pursuits — and building communities around them for connection and conversation.”
Last Thursday’s Goodreads event hosted by Patrick and featuring Emily Mandel and attended by myself and several other Millions writers and alums got written up in the Wall Street Journal. I’m told that there is a photo of yours truly in the print version, but a hard copy of the WSJ is hard to come by here in the woods. Also, Clancy Martin likes The Millions and some other great sites!
TNR‘s Ruth Franklin test-drives a new online dating service that “purports to match people based on their taste in literature.” Spoiler alert: Sebald lovers appear to be out of luck.
Last week, I pointed readers to an article about Michael Faber’s latest book and his decision to quit writing fiction. Now, in the Times Book Review, Marcel Theroux sizes up the novel, writing that “the reader is drawn through the book effortlessly, by the combination of incidental strangeness and the suspenseful handling of plot.”