Articles by Thomas Beckwith

August 11, 2014

“All dialogue? Really?” 1

Seeing as the latest Dave Eggers book consists of all dialogue, it’s a good time to look back on the history of all-dialogue novels. Alexander Kalamaroff, writing for The Rumpus, identifies a few examples, among them The Waves by Virginia Woolf and numerous works in Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme.

August 11, 2014

War and ??? 0

Nowadays, we take it as a given that Tolstoy’s fame was guaranteed by his talent, but many of his contemporaries thought he’d never get a readership outside his native Russia. Why? His writing, as Rosamund Bartlett puts it in a comparison with Turgenev, was “unpolished, more uncompromising and altogether more Russian” than his peers’. If you generally […]

August 6, 2014

Everyone Is Looking: On American Expat Literature 1

It’s impossible, of course, to sum up the vast breadth of expat literature, but we can still make out, in these stories, how we and a great deal of Europe have interpreted our character as a nation.

August 5, 2014

I Can’t Read 0

If you’re like this writer, you’ve read enough by now about the scourge of writer’s block. The literature on authors having trouble producing literature is enough to sustain a whole genre by itself. Which is why it’s refreshing to read this article, which tackles another problem: the vexing, peculiar strain of overload known as reader’s block.

August 5, 2014

Bold Move 1

“Poised to shake up the genre with its daring choice of protagonist, a groundbreaking young adult novel released this week by author Joan Berman reportedly makes the bold choice of following a moody, independently minded high school student who could be described as something of a loner.” The Onion pokes fun at YA fiction.

August 5, 2014

Self-Absorbed 0

Geoff Dyer is fond of taking potshots at literary academics. He devotes considerable time in one of his novels to a professor whose speech at a conference goes off the rails. Which is why it’s odd that, in mid-July, the author showed up at a conference devoted to — what else? — his own work. (It’s […]

August 5, 2014

The Art of Translation 0

In general, fact-checking isn’t the most glamorous part of a journalist’s career, which is why Michael Erard was surprised to find that a recent fact-checking session for an Al Jazeera article turned out to be among the most interesting conversations of his life. Why? His sources were linguists, and their job was to explain to him the […]

August 5, 2014

Magical Thinking 0

After five years, Lev Grossman has released the final book in his Magicians trilogy, aptly reviewed in the Sunday Times by our own Edan Lepucki. At Slate, the Awl cofounder, Year in Reading alum and novelist Choire Sicha looks back on the series as a whole. After reading through all three entries, Choire poses a simple but hard-to-answer question: is main character […]

August 5, 2014

Tuesday New Release Day: Grossman; House; Gaffney; Montefiore; Tanweer; Leslie-Hynan; Brooks; Gordon; Livings; Schottenfeld; Kennedy; Bertino; Gay 0

Out this week: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman; The Kills by Richard House; When the World Was Young by Elizabeth Gaffney; Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore; The Scatter Here is Too Great by Bilal Tanweer; Ride Around Shining by Chris Leslie-Hynan; Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks; The Liar’s Wife by Mary Gordon; The Dog by Jack Livings; […]

August 4, 2014

“Depression has a peculiar texture” 0

Recommended Reading: Larissa Pham on Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. You could also read Holloway McCandless on the author’s By Nightfall.