At the Paris Review, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi discusses her latest novel, Savage Tongues, and how its evocative descriptions of landscapes shaped her characters’ existences. “Landscape is one of the things I most love writing about,” Oloomi says, “because it is so sensory, evocative. All of our memories are nested in spaces—in sights, sounds, smells. So I don’t think of landscape as separate from character and have never conceived of setting as a backdrop to the consciousness of the characters who inhabit my novels. To me they are inseparable elements of a life.”
Quarry, The final book of Iain M. Banks, who died this month, is now out. Also out: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld, On the Floor by Afric Campbell, and, as an “e-single” spin-off to his bestseller Rules of Civility, Amor Towles is out with Eve in Hollywood.
“Books can be dangerous objects–under their influence people start to wonder, dream, and think.” In “celebration” of Banned Book Week, the New York Public Library has a quiz for you to find out how much you know about the freedom to read. See also our tribute to The Bluest Eye, one of the United States’ most challenged books.
“What women do in the books mentioned here doesn’t consist of survival so much as sabotage. They throw bricks and rocks and flaming bottles into the chinks of the masculine world machine, then pick up a gun and fire into the turning gears. If rape and other sexual violence, religious servitude, and the politically determined inaccessibility of contraception can be seen as acts of war, stories like these may not just be a means of escapism. In the mind’s eye, they might be weapons, to be picked up, opened, and deployed.” At the Boston Review, Elizabeth Hand looks at women who fight back in fiction, from Gone Girl to Medea.