At the Paris Review, CJ Hauser reads Rebecca for the first time and is unsettled to recognize herself in the story. “Do you know what thrills me in so many of those gothic novels? When a woman sets fire to a house. Sometimes a house feels too haunted, too complicated, to live in anymore. Imagine the cleansing relief of burning the whole thing down. I’ve been there. I get it,” she writes. By the end of the essay, the Family of Origin author realizes that to avoid the second Mrs. de Winter’s fate, she has to allow the past and present to coexist. “Probably only a very troubled person would learn things of a personal or moral nature from du Maurier. But I did. Du Maurier showed me that promising a new partner that they will eclipse your past is an act of violence against the meaningful loves that existed before. It’s a fucking bloodbath, and we are the murderers, and we forgive ourselves for it, every time.”
“Diversity matters. Not only in what we look like, or what religion we practice, or in whom we love, but also in how we live our lives, including the order in which we go about things, the seasons in which we are able to create art.” Robin Black wonders “What’s So Great About Young Writers?” in a piece for the New York Times. Pair with our own series celebrating writers who got their start after 40.
June 7th would have been Gwendolyn Brooks‘ 101st birthday. In remembrance of her we encourage you to read her works and reflect on a legacy. To get you started Shondaland has a good primer on this cool poet, who became the first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize. Pair it with this essay on Brooks and reading outside your culture.
Ian McEwan stopped by BBC’s Radio4 flagship news program to discuss, among other things, his love for John Williams’s Stoner. The novel, as Claire Cameron reported for us last month, is currently flying off the shelves in the Netherlands. However since McEwan gave Williams’s forgotten masterpiece a shout out, UK buyers have been snapping up four copies per minute.