At Vol 1 Brooklyn, Hermione Hoby discusses her new novel, Virtue, and why she chooses to focus on characters rather than themes in her writing process. “What I love about novels is the way in which a web of refracted perceptions constitute meaning,” Hoby says. “Novels are vehicles for ideas, but I think they must also deliver pleasure and beauty. The way they do this is through character. In other words, the only way these things you mention are elements of the novel is through the novel’s characters. (I greatly admire DeLillo and co, but I have not written a systems novel!)”
DeAndre McCullough died last week at the age of 35. McCullough was famously portrayed as the young protagonist in David Simon and Edward Burns’s book The Corner, which went on to become its own HBO miniseries. The Wire later adopted aspects from both the book and the miniseries. The obituary Simon wrote is not to be missed.
After visiting more than 2,000 of America’s independent bookstores, Kate Brittain found herself thinking their demise might not be so inevitable. The cards, she writes, remain stacked against them, but they nonetheless offer a few things that may well keep them in demand. Pair with: our tribute to e-book pioneer Michael Hartt.
At The New Yorker, Meghan O’Rourke lyrically reviews Anne Carson’s latest work Nox: “Grief is paradoxical … The literature of mourning enacts that dilemma; its solace is mainly in the ritual of remembering the dead and then saying, There is no solace and also, This has been going on a long time.”
In every country except France, the copyright for The Little Prince expired at the end of last year, which explains why Turkish publishers chose the first two weeks of January to publish a huge number of new translations of the book. At the LRB blog, Millions contributor Kaya Genc writes about the flood of new editions, remarking on the significance of a passage about a Turkish astronomer.
New this week: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini; The Redeemer, a new Harry Hole novel from Jo Nesbø (see our interview); and Abigail Tarttelin’s debut novel Golden Boy. Also out: The Fall of Arthur, J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic poem, and George Packer’s The Unwinding.