At The New York Times, Irish novelist John Banville discusses his latest mystery, Snow, and his decision to do away with his pseudonym, Benjamin Black. “I’m one of those writers who dislikes and is shamed by his own work. I am in pursuit of perfection and, as we know, perfection is far beyond the reach of our puny powers,” he says. “But when I found that I liked the Blacks, I said to myself, ‘Why do I need this rascal anyway?’ So I shut him in a room with a pistol, a phial of sleeping pills and a bottle of Scotch, and that was the end of him. I’ve never been ashamed or felt I had to defend what Black wrote. His books are works of craftsmanship written honestly and without pretension.”
Over at The New York Times, Citizen author Claudia Rankine reviews Teju Cole’s new essay collection. As she puts it, “Cole attempts to untangle the knot of who or what belongs to us and to whom or what do we belong as artists, thinkers and, finally, human beings.” Pair with this Millions interview with Cole.
“Any day’s news supplies plots so fantastic that most make-believe story lines pale in comparison.” Author John Altman in the LA Times about the difficulty of writing fiction during Trump’s presidency. “My current novel-in-progress concerns North Korea,” writes Altman, “and each day’s headlines endanger its premise. But too much second-guessing hobbles a writer. One can only take a deep breath, remind oneself that war with North Korea would jeopardize much more than a humble spy thriller, and forge ahead, hoping for the best.”
The hype keeps building for Baz Luhrmann’s oft-delayed Great Gatsby adaptation. The first trailer had the whole internet up in a tizzy, and now the latest teaser from Beyoncé and Andre 3000’s “Back to Black” cover has even more people interested. Perhaps, in order to wind down, we should all check out the first cinematic reworking of Fitzgerald’s classic. Over at Open Culture, fans can get a look at The Only Known Footage of the 1926 Film Adaptation of The Great Gatsby (Which F. Scott Fitzgerald Hated).