At CrimeReads, Olivia Rutigliano looks back at author Ellen Raskin’s career and life, and realizes there is a ghost story at the heart of her classic murder mystery, The Westing Game. “Knowing now that Raskin wrote this novel in the possible presence of ghosts casts the book I’ve loved for many years in a different light. It is a murder mystery, a tribute to American labor history, a farcical indictment of capitalism, a book of riddles, a large-scale family drama, a bildungsroman, etc. And it is also, in its way, a ghost story. But not a kind of ghost story you’ve ever read before,” she writes. “Its ghost is not traditional, but he wants to be remembered. Samuel Westing may be dead, but there are many ways to keep him alive. Death, itself, is not the horror show promised by the novel’s meta-ghost story. It’s not even permanent; there is almost always a way to reanimate the dead. It’s just never the way you’d expect.”
As part of the River to River Festival, poet Jon Cotner has put together a “floating world,” or a map of Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō’s work transposed onto Rockefeller Park. Each hour, Cotner will lead a tour through the world. This isn’t the first time Cotner’s done something cool like this, either. Check out our dispatch from his “Poem Forest” last year.
Why would anyone write a book anonymously? Maria Bustillos ponders anonymity at The New Yorker. “Anonymous is more than a pseudonym. It is a stark declaration of intent: a wall explicitly thrown up, not only between writer and reader, but between the writer’s work and his life.”
Out this week: a new novel, Dissident Gardens, by Year in Reading alum Jonathan Lethem; Subtle Bodies by Norman Rush; His Wife Leaves Him by Stephen Dixon; Goat Mountain by Year in Reading alum David Vann; Someone by Alice McDermott; and Enon by Paul Harding, which Joseph M. Schuster wrote about for The Millions yesterday.
Winter’s Bone author Daniel Woodrell has a new book out, and to mark the occasion, he talks with Dwyer Murphy of Guernica about his upcoming book tour, Southern poverty and the rejections Winter’s Bone received. Sample quote: “When my family started doing better and my parents encouraged my brothers and me to succeed beyond them, we started asking why our parents were telling us to strive so hard to live in these neighborhoods full of people they clearly resented—and feared too, I think.”