Tuesday morning miscellany

  • For the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, John Marshall profiles Narrative Magazine, an online literary endeavor that has published classic works from the likes of Eudora Welty, Edward Said, and Joseph Conrad alongside stories from emerging writers like Pia Z. Ehrhardt.
  • Languor Management ponders the possible effects of reading Dostoyevsky in daily email installments. (Gogol and Tolstoy also available.)
  • Rachel Cohen examines the writings of Leonard Woolf, a man “occluded by masterpieces” most of his life, who, “at nearly eighty, began to publish an autobiography that was immediately hailed by reviewers, won an important literary prize, and, in the almost half century since the first volume appeared, has seldom been out of print.”
  • From Michiko Kakutani’s review of the latest Dave Eggers effort: “After two mannered books (‘You Shall Know Our Velocity’ and ‘How We Are Hungry’) in which cleverness and literary gimmickry seemed to get the upper hand, Mr. Eggers has produced ‘What Is the What,’ a startling act of literary ventriloquism that recounts the harrowing story of a Sudanese refugee named Valentino Achak Deng, while reminding us just how eloquently the author can write about loss and mortality and sorrow.”
  • Attendees at his readings in Germany always ask Arnon Grunberg why he’s so fluent in German. His answer — “My parents were born in Berlin”– makes everyone uncomfortable.
  • Lucy Ellmann praises Elfreide Jelinek’s “uniquely sneering tone and tireless fury with the human race,” and says the Nobel laureate’s fiction flies in the face of “people’s growing dependence on feel-good fiction, fantasy and non-fiction.” (Via.)
  • American writer Jonathan Littell, who writes in French, has won the Prix Goncourt.
  • Kingsley Amis’ first wife once “took out her lipstick and wrote on his back: ‘One fat Englishman. I fuck anything.'” (Via.)
  • Doctor Who explains modern media consolidation to you.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.