by Sonya Chung
A few years ago, when I first starting reading and writing about Dovlatov, I focused on the wickedly humorous side of Dovlatov’s deadpan. But a few years later, and a few more books into his body of work, I find myself more interested in that earnestness and regret — in Dovlatov the evolving man and artist, who crafted and, yes, honed a version of himself in his fiction that was just distorted enough to be true.1
by Claire Luchette
I think there’s a great temptation to sort of resist what it is you do naturally.0
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Mark O'Connell looks at Tommy Wiseau’s "The Room". the "Face-Palm Fresco Affair" and explores the secrets of viral fame.Buy for $1.99
Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87. The Colombian writer was a prominent novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He was most famous for One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and The Autumn of the Patriarch and won a Nobel Prize in 1982 for his work.
If you thought the English language went downhill when the emoticon was introduced, you can blame a 17th-century poet. Editor Levi Stahl found that English poet Robert Herrick used the first emoticon in his 1648 poem “To Fortune.” As Herrick writes, “Tumble me down, and I will sit/ Upon my ruines (smiling yet :)” For more on the potential ruin of language, read Fiona Maazel’s piece on commercial grammar.
The art of book translation becomes even more challenging when you translate a book that hasn’t been updated since the Cold War. At Asymptote, Jacek Dehnel discusses how much changed from Ariadna Demkowska’s 1962 translation of The Great Gatsby to his current work. “Demkowska was working under very different circumstances: behind the Iron Curtain and without access to Google. It was, therefore, more difficult for her to track down various details, such as those concerning well-known financiers or popular culture starlets of the 1920s.”
Ian McEwan is going after religion in his latest novel. The Children Act will focus on the conflict of parents who refuse medical treatment for their children due to religious beliefs. You can expect the book in September.
“I’ve always loved that ‘author’ derives from the Latin augere, to increase.” At The Guardian, Eleanor Catton discusses her inspiration for The Luminaries, which involved two years of research. Here’s our review of the finished product.
Jaden Smith is going from an action movie career to starring in an adaptation of James McBride’s National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. Liev Schreiber will play John Brown. If you’re unsure about casting a rapper to play the protagonist, take it up with McBride, who is also producing the film.
Once again, another Dave Eggers novel is coming with barely any notice. Knopf will publish Eggers’s latest, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, on June 17. The title is longer than the plot description, but the new novel will follow a man named Thomas who interrogates a NASA astronaut about their connection.
0~C. Max Magee
Have you ever wondered how memoirists remember their childhoods so well when we can barely remember what we ate for breakfast this morning? Although losing your earliest memories is a common phenomenon called childhood amnesia, we’re more likely to remember childhood if we fashion it into a story.
Amy barely speaks in the trailer for Gone Girl, but she is present in almost every frame. The first look at David Fincher’s adaptation features a creepy cover of “She” and a harried Ben Affleck as he goes from bereaved husband to suspect. The film will be in theaters on October 3, but until then, read our conversation about Gillian Flynn.
Recommended Reading: The Paris Review has put its Zadie Smith short story “Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets” online. “New York just expects so much from a girl—acts like it can’t stand even the idea of a wasted talent or opportunity. And Miss Adele had been around.”
“This is what set Geeshie and Elvie apart even from the rest of an innermost group of phantom geniuses of the ’20s and ’30s. Their myth was they didn’t have anything you could so much as hang a myth on.” John Jeremiah Sullivan investigates more mysterious musicians in The New York Times Magazine. Bonus: You can listen to their music as you read. For more of Sullivan’s music journalism, read his piece on the origins of ska.
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Read More The Millions Top 10 March 2014
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
Selected Stories Alice Munro
The Flamethrowers Rachel Kushner
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton
Draw it With Your Eyes Closed Paper Monument/n+1
The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose Alice Munro
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri
Just Kids Patti Smith
Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter
The Circle Dave Eggers