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.”
Patrick Bateman as internet troll? I could see it. Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho, stopped by Town and Country to muse over how an early-twentieth century Patrick Bateman might behave a bit differently: “I check in with Patrick every now and then—as with this article you’re reading—but he has been living his own life for some time now, and I rarely feel as if I have guardianship over him, or any right to tell him where he would or would not be today, decades after his birth.”
“This test protocol was designed so X-ray operators could have a clearer view of carry-on baggage at checkpoints. Like many tests TSA performs at checkpoints around the country, we collected valuable data but, at this time, are no longer testing or instituting these procedures.” Inside Higher Ed reports that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has abandoned a program that required passengers to remove books from their carry-on luggage during security screenings. And we have just the reading recommendations for flying for you, too.
Editing poetry can be tricky, and the work is often misunderstood. Many of the best houses leave the work to the experts: actual poets. But is that the best route? Indeed, as this Telegraph article puts it, “a house’s tone and fortunes can be radically altered depending on the poet in charge of the poems of others.”
I’ve written before about Matthew Jockers‘s claim, as reported and presented by the Paris Review, that there are only about 6 plots in fiction. Now Dan Piepenbring returns to the Review to respond to critics who and attempt to answer the questions “is it really possible to assign every word a reliable emotional valence? And even if the answer is yes, can we really claim that all the plots in the history of literature take so few basic forms?”
Here’s a novel idea: using literature to map out the emotions of a time period. (1940s? Sad. 1920s? Happy. 2010s? …Don’t ask.)