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by John Jeremiah Sullivan
I took Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan on my summer vacation, and nothing will ever be the same.
Eddie, the main character, no longer wants to be a protagonist. He simply wants to no longer feel like a failure, which is a pretty good definition of adulthood at this moment.
It’s hilarious and sad and all the usual things we say a work of literature is when we mean it seems to contain all of life.
It’s the sort of book that turns you into an evangelist, in an almost embarrassing way, like, reaching into your purse to wave a copy in peoples’ faces when someone casually mentions, “I hear you’re writing about cricket?”
With four books graduating to our Half of Fame, we have a new number one, three debuts and one returning title on our list.
A Millions favorite debuts on the list, and big changes are afoot next month.
With four books graduating to our Hall of Fame, we have a new number one, and four new books on our list.
We are creating a generation of riff artists, who see their job not as creating wholly new original projects but as commenting upon cultural artifacts that already exist.
Are poor rural white people really neglected in American literature? Hardly. They might be routinely scorned, marginalized, misunderstood, and reduced to caricature, but they’re not neglected. In fact, the canon is larded with writers who’ve put the riches of white trash culture to wondrous use.
Murakami returns to the top spot, but a shake-up is coming next month.
No new books were able to break in this month, but a couple were making strong moves higher on the list.
As we've noted in the past, the NBCC seems to do a better job of catching the zeitgeist than other major prizes like the National Book Award and the Booker, which like to play kingmaker by annointing less well known titles.
Every word I say or write about John Jeremiah Sullivan's Pulphead turns instantly to mush. Yes, he's that good.
Behold: a museum of my failures, an atlas of incompletion, a tour of the ruins of a future that never came. I call it "Reviews I Did Not Write This Year."
This year I read a book that was so good it gave me that sick-sweet feeling of envy-awe when I finished the last page. Damn, I thought, I wish I’d written that!
I wanted to dislike this book. The point is that I went into this book hating it. I was proven so, so wrong.