George Saunders visits the U.K. and falls in love with the place. So smitten is he with the mother country, in fact, that he’s calling for “the reconciliation of Britain and the United States into one nation, to be called the United Anti-Terror States Of Britain.”
From Carla Blumenkranz’s My Life and Times in American Publishing, on her internship with a grasping young editor: “She showed me how to read manuscripts she didn’t want from agents — by shuffling the pages until they looked like they’d been read — and how to respond to the unsolicited — ‘Sorry to say that Trouble in Venice just didn’t speak to me the way I’d hoped it would.'” Eventually Blumenkranz was intructed to “find the new Jesus.” Just read the piece; you’ll see. (Via Light Reading.)
Tayari Jones, who’s advocated separate book sections for African-American authors, visits an airport bookstore and finds novels by E. Lynn Harris and Eric Jerome Dickey prominently displayed. She’s thrilled — until she remarks on the placement to the cashier, and the woman tells her, “We put them back here because a lot of those books just walk out the door!”
Scott Driscoll talks with Maryann Burk Carver about her new book, What It Used to Be Like: A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver. In his review of the same memoir, Jonathan Yardley says Ms. Carver “occasionally sounds like a schoolgirl nattering away,” and notes that “once [Raymond Carver] got semi-famous, he tossed her aside for several women…. [H]e was a drop-dead drunk until he went off booze in 1977 and at least twice beat her severely….”
Irfan Khan calls Ashoke Ganguli, his role in the screen adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, “the most unobtrusive character I’ve played.”
Aidan Smith meets with AL Kennedy, transcribes her quips, and proves the author-comedian is a fucking riot. Does she like hearing the sound of laughter? “Yes, but if there’s too much of it, I start to get resentful. You lot are having a good time, why am I not?” (Previously: my interview with Kennedy, and what it was like to talk to her.)
Another week, another Twain article. This one is a feature on the Twain House and Museum in Hartford.