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.”
After 73 years, everyone’s favorite redheaded comic book hero will be killed off. Archie Andrews will die in a July issue of the Life With Archie comic. “He dies saving the life of a friend and does it in his usual selfless way,” Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater said. That won’t be the last you’ll see of Archie, though, because Lena Dunham will write a few issues in one of Archie’s other comic incarnations.
It appears that our own Sonya Chung’s consideration of underappreciated Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov played a role in getting one of his stories published in a forthcoming issue of PEN America.
New this week: The Brunist Day of Wrath by Robert Coover; Frog Music by Emma Donoghue; Off Course by Michelle Huneven; And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass; Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland; The Ballad of a Small Player by Lawrence Osborne; Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman; and The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2014 Book Preview.
At this point, we’re all familiar with Cheryl Strayed’s transformative solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail that she wrote about in Wild. Yet at Condé Nast Traveler, she discusses how a recent family vacation to Laos reawakened her passion for travel. “Here we were on a sacred hill so far off from the place from which we had come, and so abundantly thankful for it. Perhaps the power of that very gratitude is the reason I travel.”