You can read the entire first chapter from László Krasznahorkai’s latest novel, Seiobo There Below. We reviewed the work on our site last month. Meanwhile, the Hungarian author has recently received an unwelcome invitation. As literary scholar Tibor Keresztúry notes (via George Szirtes’s translation), “a certain G Fodor Gábor, the strategic director of the Századvég (Century’s End) Foundation … suggests that [Krasznahorkai] should shoot himself in the head.”
“I was interested enough in WikiLeaks, state transparency, and emergent opposition networks to do five years in prison over such things, but I wasn’t interested enough that I would have voluntarily plowed through 500 pages of badly plotted failed-marriage razzmatazz by an author who’s long past his expiration date simply in order to learn what the Great King of the Honkies thinks about all this.” Barrett Brown reviews Jonathan Franzen’s Purity from prison. Pair with our own Lydia Kiesling’s review of the book.
There is going to be a documentary about Joan Didion. We repeat: a documentary about Joan Didion. This is not a drill. Watch the opening trailer and consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign here, and be sure to read our own Michael Borne's review of Blue Nights and S.J. Culver's Millions essay on "Getting Out: Escaping with Joan Didion."
The Millions just got a little bit bigger. Longtime readers will recall the occasional post from Edan Lepucki over the years. She worked with me at the bookstore in L.A., so we've been talking about books since way back. I've always enjoyed her thoughts on books and I think the unique sensibility she brings to teaching, writing and reading will make the site even better. Here's her bio (and her first official post will be up shortly.)Edan Lepucki is a fiction writer and instructor living in Los Angeles. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and her stories have been published in Meridian, the Los Angeles Times' West Magazine, and CutBank. She likes cheese, dogs, and sleeping in.
Writing about European immigration laws for the London Review of Books, Jeremy Harding drops this excellent line: "Perhaps we should agree to think of rights and values as limited resources, and admit that Europe is now caught in a bitter struggle over who can or can’t access them."
Since we’re deep into the season of “year end” lists, here’s a list of ten great novels written by women that didn’t get a lot of critical attention this year. That isn’t to say that aren’t a ton of other books deserving of this distinction, just that these are some really good ones. Go list-crazy and pair with our own Year in Reading series.
A few months ago I read a story called "The Near-Son" in n+1. It engrossed me completely, right through to the punch-in-the-gut Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"-esque ending. The plotting, the pacing, and the narrator's bizarre and fascinating affect (was she retarded - somehow not right in the head - or just distressingly honest?) were unlike anything I'd ever read."The Near-Son" is now among the inhabitants of Rebecca Curtis' first collection of short stories, Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money. It is a masterful first offering and very much a collection. All of the tales concern the want of love or money (often both) and all have in common narrators whose deadpan descriptions of the monstrous and disturbing are utterly transfixing. Curtis has a gift for the evocation of human cruelty, both a casual, thoughtless variety ("Summer, With Twins") and a more deliberate strain ("The Sno-Kone Cart" and "Monsters"). Although I found all of the Twenty Grand tales more or less excruciating for the material and emotional scenes they depicted, I could not stop myself from devouring all thirteen in a few sittings. There is a stark, bleak, amoral atmosphere to Curtis's tales that might, in lesser hands, have made them unreadable, but his is not the case. Ultimately, the lives and minds and souls she portrays - all narrowed or troublingly warped by friendlessness, exploitation, betrayal, and privation - make for an undeniable declaration of the horrific consequences of poverty, both emotional and material. These are beautifully constructed stories and they will stun you even as their content harrows.
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