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The Flamethrowers (Paperback)

by Rachel Kushner

Against Readability 45

“Readable” has become the chosen term of praise in our times precisely because so many of us find ourselves unable to concentrate as we once could or still aspire to. But to praise readability is to embrace the vicious feedback loop that our culture now finds itself in.

Running in the Wake 6

What better way to test my fortitude than by hammering my head with the legendarily impenetrable Irish jibberish of Finnegans Wake? If I can run 20 yammering nonsensical miles, then an extra six with folks cheering most of the way instead: easy, right? Maybe easier.

Sweet Bitterness: Why We Need More Novels About Work 11

It’s the one novel I’ve read this year that takes work seriously, that balances decadence with an honest day’s work.

Historical Fiction and the New Literary Taboo 16

Both Alexander Chee and Shawna Yang Ryan took nearly 15 years to complete their novels. Labor on this scale is perhaps the exact antithesis of the genre model of fiction writing -- with the rapacious, regular demands of the marketplace. The bruising deadlines, the concept-driven, pre-packaged product.

The Human Deep Within the Machine 0

The coming together of the novel’s two plots is the least compelling aspect of Innocents and Others. Its nod to narrative unity is forced, but the best part about the nod is how convincingly it suggests that we were all better off talking to each other in the dark.

Most Anticipated: The Great 2015 Book Preview 25

At 9,000 words strong and encompassing 91 titles, this is the only 2015 book preview you will ever need.

A Year in Reading: Charles Finch 13

I read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan trilogy this year.  I read it twice, actually.  It made me want to quit writing.

A Year in Reading: Janet Fitch 1

I love a book that tears me to shreds -- and, on the sentence level, soars to the heavens.

Do Not Tell Me This Is Not Beautiful: On the Collaborative Art of Words and Images 3

The collaborative medium between prose and photography, poetry and photography deserves a more established home in the spectrum of the literary world.

The Millions Top Ten: April 2014 0

In a big shake-up, six books graduate to the Hall of Fame and we have a new number one.

Are We Entering a Golden Age of the Second Novel? 7

If a first novel fails to become a blockbuster, as almost all of them do, publishers are less inclined to get behind the follow-up by a writer who has gained a dubious track record but has lost that most precious of all literary selling points: novelty. Writers get only one shot at becoming The Next Big Thing.

Tuesday New Release Day: Doctorow; Joyce; Cantor; Creeley; Urquhart; Russell; Vonnegut; Kushner 0