In the conclusion to his season-long exploration of Saul Bellow’s work, Daniel Wallace tackles the sticky problem of Bellow’s endings, what happens to characters over a 50-year career, and how the author’s nonfiction illuminates his talent for storytelling and argument—perhaps even moreso than the novels.
In this two-part essay, Daniel Wallace devotes himself to the work of Saul Bellow for a season. Total immersion in Bellow’s progress as a writer reveals the perplexing philosophical problems at the heart of many of the novels, the difference between early and later books, and the unadulterated beauty of Bellow’s paragraphs.
Just kidding. I don’t mean versus as in fight to the death / zero-sum / there can be only one winner. I mean versus as in: what’s the difference? How are these two forms alike and where do they diverge, and if we’ve been speaking the language of one for a while, how can we shift our thinking so as to be fluent in the other? Because let’s face it: novels are what sell. Send a bunch of agents short stories, and they’ll ask, “But do you have a novel?” That’s the hard-headed, business side of writingwriting a novel is […]
As the annual observance of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) approaches, Erika Dreifus discusses the literary kinship among works from an emerging cohort of “3G” (third-generation) Jewish writers: Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge, Alison Pick’s Far to Go, and Natasha Solomons’ Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English.
In the New York Times, Dan Kois takes a peek into the abandoned novels of famous writers. Evelyn Waugh, Nicolai Gogol, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and many more all scrapped novels. So if there’s a novel slowly decaying under your bed, take heart. You’re in good companyand possibly wise: “A book itself threatens to kill its author repeatedly during its composition,” Michael Chabon writes in the margins of his unfinished novel “Fountain City” — a novel, he adds, that he could feel “erasing me, breaking me down, burying me alive, drowning me, kicking me down the stairs.” And so Chabon […]
Tonight, the National Book Award will be announced. The National Book Foundation – who awards the prize each year – will be live tweeting the event “from pre-show setup to post show celebration.” Anne shared an interesting piece from Salon that posted on Monday. In the aptly-titled essay, “Who will win the National Book Award for fiction?“, Tom LeClair breaks down the five books in the running – Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey; Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon; Great House by Nicole Krauss; So Much for That by Lionel Shriver; and I Hotel by Karen Tei […]
The fabulous Thisbe Nissen (Out of the Girls Room and Into the Night, Osprey Island, The Good People of New York, The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook) is starting a summer writing workshop in the Catskills. In her own words: Dear Everyone, Some of you may know that up here in Saugerties, NY we’ve been hatching a plan for a summer writing workshop, and now that we’ve got some official flyer-type-things and an application form and even a website, I’m sending this out in the hope that you all might pass it along to potentially interested students, former students, or anyone you know […]
There’s an old adage in these parts: If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes. This was certainly true to form the last several days here at the Ann Arbor Book Festival. Friday dawned beautiful, cloudless and warm. Yet by the cocktail hour the sky was spitting and sputtering. Saturday, too, threatened rain. But other than a few windy gusts that lifted the tents on the Ingalls Mall, the weather held. In fact, by mid afternoon that second day the clouds had gone. And the only rain we received was through the night—the literary Gods were smiling. […]