At Shondaland, Qian Julie Wang discusses her memoir, Beautiful Country, a story of immigration and discovery seen through the eyes of an undocumented child. “I was very inspired by Harriet the Spy,” Wang says, “and I wrote down a lot of mundane details of my worlds in hopes that I might be able to solve some sort of mystery. That mystery never materialized, but it really helped me as an adult to look back and try to place myself in that little kid’s shoes. Once I opened the floodgates and really let myself feel everything, it came back fairly quickly. It was really important for me to share the story from that childhood perspective because I know that some of the horrors of life can be much more palatable when presented to adults through the lens of a child, but at the same time deeply disturbing because this is a child who’s filtering it through and not seeing everything that the adult should.”
New this week are Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker (reviewed here), Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories (reviewed here), Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jack Kerouac’s “lost novel” The Sea is My Brother, and a new collection of poetry from Jonathan Galassi, Left-Handed.
After a long and complicated drama that played out for five years in Israeli courts, a collection of Franz Kafka and Max Brod manuscripts will be transferred to the National Library in Jerusalem. The unique circumstances at play in this case have been previously written about by Elif Batuman.
The office novel, by nature, is a tricky construct, if only because your average white-collar job doesn’t offer much in the way of fiction-worthy moments. That said, recent books like Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris demonstrate how fruitful it can be to wring drama out of the rat race. In the latest issue of Dissent, Cubed author Nikil Saval delves into the contradictions of office fiction. FYI, Saval wrote a Year in Reading entry for us.