At the New York Times, Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses his newest book, The Committed, a sequel to the Pulitzer-winning The Sympathizer, and how it allows him to explore paths in life he may have missed. “That idea of an alternative life, parallel life, alternate universes, has always haunted me,” Nguyen says. “It haunts a lot of us who are refugees from Vietnam, what our lives could’ve been, and so I think that sense saturates my fiction and my nonfiction.”
Recommended Reading: Can desire thrive without freedom? On the works of Margaret Atwood and Michel Houellebecq in The Atlantic. Our essay on Atwood’s vision of the future and review of Ben Jeffery’s Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism pair nicely.
“I think essay and memoir hang together in a balance. There’s any number of ways to strike it, but from Montaigne on down that balance seems key to their design.” The Paris Review interviews the essayist Michelle Orange, author of the recent This Is Running For Your Life.
Amidst the tragic news that Iain Banks has cancer, The Telegraph responds with a headline for the ages: “Iain Banks taught me that books can be a hand grenade“