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by Jonathan Franzen
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We can’t blame earnest authors for trying. It just wasn’t long enough ago yet.
The crisis Franzen described 15 years ago this month would seem doubly urgent for today’s young writers, yet twentysomethings are entering the literary arena in droves. The question’s not “Why Bother?” but “What gives?”
Huge claims have been made on behalf of the novelist Tom McCarthy. But what do they actually tell us about "the future of fiction?"
We were called up, one after another, and allotted two minutes each. They sat in front of us, mostly late-middle aged, mostly female, presumably Jewish, all of them with reading glasses and notebooks—the scariest possible bar mitzvah crowd, deciding whom to invite to speak to their particular audiences, in San Diego or Palm Springs or Shaker Heights.
Reporting out on California's Channel Islands, you could count on a day of freedom from yet another editorial whipping. Even more alluring, you could imagine all the histories that might have been.
The Cookbook Collector’s literary elegance is part of what made the book invisible to a broad public, while Franzen’s roaring crassness is part of what made his book such a smash. He’s just a lot louder than she is.
The fiction list includes four books that have gotten quite a lot of attention over the last year
The first thing you have to do with Tree of Codes is figure out how to read it.
8,000 words strong and encompassing 76 titles, it's the only 2011 book preview you will ever need.
The number of novelists with a claim to having published major work this year forms a kind of alphabet: Aira, Amis, Bolaño, Boyd, Carey, Cohen, Cunningam, Donoghue...
It disturbed me profoundly, and that has to count for something.
I found myself thinking about that long-ago interview—the advice he’d unknowingly doled out—and picking up some of the shorter novels on my bookshelves.
It's the most intimate, complete, and honest form of criticism possible.
I will say this, it was not my best year for reading. It was a year where I read a lot of really good books but almost no great books.
And so he whirled mirthlessly on, flourishing the word "prose" like a magic wand, working pale variations on his "Reader's Manifesto." Take that, Toni Morrison! In your face, Jonathan Franzen!
Four women and one man - a pair of international names, a 20 under 40'er and a pair of lesser known names - make up the fiction finalists.
Authors are too timid, it seems to me sometimes, in the face of the demand for conventionally sympathetic characters. “I didn’t like any of the characters” is a common Amazon reviewer’s refrain—or, I don’t know, maybe that’s just what they say about the books that I write. They say it like it’s a bad thing.
On the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair, it's striking evidence of a literary trade imbalance that so many American books should be prominent in German buchhandlungs when so few German writers are available in English at all.
Flavorwire’s list of the Top Ten Bookstores in the US was not supposed to piss me off, but that’s exactly what it did. It was supposed to be the sort of article you read and then forget about. Instead, I found myself dwelling on the thing and, well, getting pissed off.
This arboreal carnage seemed fitting, however, prior to a meeting with a man who teaches a class on Catastrophe, and who founded the International Necronautical Society, whose mission is to “map, enter, colonise and, eventually, inhabit” the space of death.