Obligatory remainders

  • Zadie Smith will read from her forthcoming novel, On Beauty, at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. Orhan Pamuk, Alan Hollinghurst, Doris Lessing, William Boyd, and David Mitchell are among the other writers participating.
  • Publishers Marketplace reports that A.M. Homes has sold two new books:

    • a novel, This Book Will Save Your Life, “about a man in his mid-fifties who lives a cloistered life, estranged from all including himself, who is brought back into the world by an attack of unbelievable but unlocalized pain and a a sinkhole which begins to open up outside his house in the Hollywood Hills, leading him into a deeper relationship with his son, and into a life full of meaningful connections with other human beings,” forthcoming in April 2006; and
    • a memoir “examining what it was like growing up adopted, and fleshing out the story of her birth mother, a nervous and secretive woman who never married, also looking at the more universal themes regarding the nature of the family and how we form attachments and construct a sense of self, for publication in April 2007.” (Homes recently wrote a striking essay about meeting her birth parents.)
  • On Hermione Lee, who’s embarked on a biography of Edith Wharton after tackling Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather and Elizabeth Bowen:

    The life of the body, she points out, plays much more of a part in contemporary biographical narratives: “Masturbation, dental work, body odour, menstruation, gonorrhoea, addictions, and sexual preferences are all permissible subjects.”

  • Robert Birnbaum, opens his review of Percival Everett’s latest short story collection with this observation: “Percival Everett probably would make most literary cognoscenti lists of underappreciated/underpublicized authors.”
  • The print run for What We Do Now, an anthology of political essays intended to inspire Democrats in the aftermath of the presidential election, has been increased, from 3,000 to 30,000, as of last week. I wrote about my contribution, “Stop Yawning Over Taxes,” here.


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