At the Atlantic, Sanjena Sathian discusses why she chooses to use concrete pop culture references that ground her work to our current time period, most notably in a recent short story, “The Missing Limousine.” “Among writers,” Sathian says, “there’s a sense that pop culture weighs down ‘serious’ art—like we’re afraid of burdening our work with specific markers of the moment. But all art and thought is a product of its moment, whether we acknowledge it or not.”
“Literature is the record we have of the conversation between those of us now alive on earth and everyone who’s come before and will come after, the cumulative repository of humanity’s knowledge, wonder, curiosity, passion, rage, grief and delight. It’s as useless as a spun-sugar snowflake and as practical as a Swiss Army knife.” Dana Stevens and Adam Kirsch discuss whether literature should be considered useful.
Six novelists discuss their second-favorite art forms (after writing, of course). Before you click, see if you can guess which one of these folks is most interested in opera: Kazuo Ishiguro, Lavinia Greenlaw, John Lanchester, Alan Werner, Sarah Hall and Colm Tóibín.
“When I have an idea that will later, sadly, become a story or a poem, I have a sensation of receiving something. But I do not know if that “something” is given to me by something or someone or if it bursts out on its own.” An excerpt from Borges‘s conversations with the Argentinian poet and essayist Osvaldo Ferrari on writing, memory, and God is now available on The New York Review of Books blog.