Essays Archives - The Millions

August 26, 2016

What I Learned on My Debut Book Tour From the Books I Read Along the Way 0

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I learn this lesson well: you don’t write the book for yourself. Once it’s published, it’s not yours. It’s theirs.

August 25, 2016

In Order to Live: Story Structure in the Horoscopic Style 3

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We have no idea what we’re talking about when we talk about structure.

August 24, 2016

Screaming Notes the Human Soul Seldom Makes Audible: On Raul Brandão’s ‘The Poor’ 0

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Although it sounds improbable that in 2016 there are still great Modernist writers left to discover, Brandão has the same importance Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce have in their respective languages.

August 23, 2016

What Percival Everett’s ‘Erasure’ Can Tell Us about Authenticity 10

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If we can’t depend on the morals of the writer or the objectivity of the editors and publishers, how do we navigate the shoals of the authenticity debate?

August 19, 2016

Comfort Objects 1

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For a few hours one night a year the film made her forget her worries about finances or her unhappy marriage to my father. I have since discovered how we often return to our favorite songs, movies and books, seeking contentment or an escape from our daily lives.

August 18, 2016

Octogenarian Hotties 21

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Publishing’s abiding obsession with fresh voices ignores a curious fact about our current literary scene: a startling number of the finest writers at work today are not twentysomethings; they’re eightysomethings.

August 17, 2016

Instagram and the Pornification of Food 0

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Pornification is when desire, rather than its object, becomes the primary drive for consumption.

August 15, 2016

Clothes in Books and Ways to go Wrong 11

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The meanest thing Kingsley Amis ever did to a woman was to put Margaret Peele in that green paisley dress and “quasi-velvet” shoes in Lucky Jim.

August 12, 2016

British Humiliation and ‘The Cursed Child’ 2

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Bollocksing things up in front of your peers and suffering a metaphysical death from embarrassment is a fundamental part of the British human condition, if one that is downplayed in the fan worship abroad.

August 10, 2016

Dear Any Soldier: Vonnegut during Wartime 5

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I learned about fiction from a box of Kurt Vonnegut books, Operation Desert Storm, 1991. The scene was sand, and tent, and swelter, and blast concussion, and a small, unopened box.