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.”
Norris Church Mailer, widow of Norman Mailer, died yesterday at 61 following a long battle with cancer. Mark Olshaker, president of the Norman Mailer Society, wrote: “She was the pilgrim soul who captured and won Norman’s heart and mind and who shared with him the last three decades of his life.”
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.
“Whatever the [Fulbright] program became,” writes Boston Globe correspondent Sam Lebovic, “it was first conceived as a budget-priced megaphone to transmit American ideas to the world, rather than as a genuine international dialogue.” Indeed, one 1940s newspaper columnist dubbed the program “an ingenious piece of higher mathematics…[that] found a way to finance out of the sale of war junk a worldwide system of American scholarships.”