At the Paris Review, Olga Tokarczuk reflects on the “wild metaphysics” of Leonora Carrington’s 1974 surrealist novel, The Hearing Trumpet. “The non-genre novel aims to establish its own rules for the created universe, sketching its own epistemological maps,” Tokarczuk writes. “And this is the case whether the book is a love story, a murder mystery, or the tale of an expedition to another galaxy. The Hearing Trumpet eludes all categorization. From its first sentence on, it presents an internally coherent cosmos governed by self-generated laws. In doing so it passes disturbing comment on things we never stop to question.”
“Everything on the surface of the world is so chaotic right now, so there’s a desire to access a place that’s more uncharted.” The New York Times profiles author Melissa Broder and her new novel, The Pisces (which was part of our Great 2018 Book Preview).
“Born Guan Moye, he chose his pen name—“Don’t Talk”—to honor his mother’s caution against talking too much and in sardonic recognition of his failure to heed her warning. Yet I have been struck by his quiet and unassuming presence at literary conferences in Beijing, where he offered kind encouragement in private meetings but evinced a shy persona in public.” On the contradictions of last year’s Nobel laureate, Mo Yan.
At The Nervous Breakdown, Micah McRary talks with Leslie Jamison about her use of POV, her new book of essays and whether her criticism might be dubbed “evasive biography.” You could also read our interview with Jamison or else read Ryan Teitman’s review of The Empathy Exams.
In 2013, Mo Yan became China’s first resident Nobel Laureate in Literature, which prompted a huge swell of interest in his books in the West. In the Times, Janet Maslin reviews Frog, his latest novel to get an English translation. Sample quote: “Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye, says everything he needs to about the Cultural Revolution with a scene in which Tadpole and other schoolboys eat coal and claim to find it delicious.” You could also read Alan Levinovitz on modern Chinese literature.