Articles by Elise Liu

July 23, 2014

“A merry monarch, scandalous and poor” 0

John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, was a dear friend (even protégé) of King Charles II. He was also a sharp-tongued poet who called out the same King on his bedroom behavior: “His sceptre and prick are of a length; / And she may sway the one who plays with th’other.”  

July 23, 2014

Kafka’s “The Country Doctor” as a film 0

The internet’s repository of Franz Kafka-inspired literary treats seems to have no bounds. This latest: his excellent short story “The Country Doctor” has been adapted by Japanese filmmaker Kōji Yamamura into a 20-minute animated film (subtitled). Kafka adaptations clearly aren’t going anywhere. Pair with our essay on the subtle art of rereading his most famous story.

July 23, 2014

The anticipations of a Most Anticipated book 0

Not every worthy book finds the audience it deserves as quickly as Edan Lepucki’s California. John Warner writes about the long aftermath of finding his debut, The Funny Man, featured in our 2011 Most Anticipated Book Preview: “I wondered, what if? Maybe this was going to be the next phase of my life, and when people asked […]

July 23, 2014

It’s all about the characters 0

In the world of selling books, it’s not all about the sentences. At Ploughshares, agent Eric Nelson argues: A fresh plot matters and unusual characters do, too. “The most interesting books have characters who do the opposite of what we’d do… Imagine Hamlet, if Hamlet took decisive action. Horror movies wouldn’t exist at all without the idiot who always suggests they split up.”

July 23, 2014

Early Bafflings 0

Yet another open archive for your summer reading enjoyment: the Baffler (“the Journal that Blunts the Cutting Edge”), as part of a website redesign, has made available its entire back catalog of commentary and fiction. Might I suggest starting with this now-charmingly-antiquated piece on marketing to the youthful “hipster” generation? (The Paris Review has other suggestions. It’s hard to go wrong.)

July 21, 2014

Electric Lit interviews Patricia Lockwood 0

Electric Literature has a fantastic interview with “viral poet” Patricia Lockwood, author of “Rape Joke,” new book Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, and this prophecy: “We’re going to have something in the future that is so much more revealing than tit pics, and we don’t even know what it is yet.” Pair with: today’s new Millions piece on publishers’ struggle to turn the […]

July 21, 2014

7 reasons not to write a novel 0

Javier Marías cogently summarizes all the reasons to stop writing novels immediately, and adds only one reason to write them anyway: “Fiction is the most bearable of worlds.” We reviewed The Infatuations, one of his own twelve works (to date), last year.

July 21, 2014

Sudoku Comics 0

Sudoku getting too easy, you say? Try making (or, rather, writing) one instead, like this nine-paneled comic that works across, down, or on a diagonal.

July 21, 2014

Our new fictional feminist superheroes 0

Recently, both Batgirl and the Norse god Thor (as conceived by Marvel) have been updated to suit the times. While DC Comics simply gave Batgirl sensible, combat-appropriate clothing, inspiring happy fan art; “female Thor” has met a mix of excitement and bewilderment. Fittingly, a new piece out at Aeon explores our conflicted desire to see male protagonists in fiction — the Harry Potters and […]

July 21, 2014

How to read the New Yorker this summer 2

Starting today and lasting until the end of the summer, The New Yorker is completely free online, including archives back to 2007. What to read? To start off, try searching the fiction page for, say, George Saunders. There’s that famous Lawrence Wright piece on Scientology. Or feel free to consult the magazine’s own roundup. But I happen to be most impressed by this grandaddy of all longform articles on […]