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.”
Paula Fox, celebrated novelist and winner of the 1983 National Book Award (among other honors), died this week. Contributing to our Year in Reading series two years ago, Parul Sehgal said she couldn’t stop rereading Desperate Characters, perhaps Fox’s most popular book for adults. “It’s really a wallop of a book,” Sehgal wrote. “A barbed portrait of a marriage, not to mention a brilliant take on gentrification, white fears of black and brown people, the hostile insularity of the nuclear family, and how power reproduces and how power conceals itself.” (Bonus: Dominic Smith wants to send a scene from that novel into space.)
Cory Arcangel‘s Working on My Novel is composed solely of tweets from people who (one is led to assume) are engaged in the singularly tragic enterprise of writing books that, unlike Working on My Novel, will take years to complete, yet won’t be published by Penguin or noticed by The Paris Review. Oh, the meta-irony. And now I’ve just honored it with a Curiosities post.