Essays Archives - Page 4 of 90 - The Millions

April 19, 2016

Spurn the Translator at Your Own Peril 0

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Translators live at a slight remove from the tumult of the real world, in worlds with their own variety of tumult; they see life through a prism of literature. Their days are filled with another person’s mind, other people’s worlds.

April 14, 2016

Anita Brookner, Queen of the Damned 1

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Nothing much happens in these books; people go to the shop, they return to their quiet flats, they eat a little, they make tea, they think. Sometimes they visit the hairdresser or a museum. Sometimes someone dies, and there’s a quiet funeral.

April 7, 2016

Fiction Must Be Fed: On Margaret Cavendish, Frida Kahlo, and Marie Curie 1

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What does it mean to be a female artist, or really an artist of any kind? Like Athena emerging from Zeus’s head fully formed, Cavendish and Kahlo emerge from these books as mentor-mothers, born again in imagination and time.

March 17, 2016

Historical Fiction and the New Literary Taboo 15

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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.

March 14, 2016

Bookjacked: Why We Can’t Have Arabic Books in America 10

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I live in a world where you may need to wait half a year, and be extorted, to get a novel that won the “Arabic Booker.” This is disastrous and shameful, because the flow of books in the other direction is so easy and direct.

March 10, 2016

Gravity’s Rainbow: A Love Story 11

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I don’t want to talk about dick jokes, here. I want to talk about Pynchon’s love stories.

March 9, 2016

Poor Davy! Two Thoroughly Modern Women Discuss David Copperfield 4

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Rarely do I read a book that leads me to Charles Dickens, especially considering I tend to read either autobiographical fiction or semi-experimental nonfiction written by women. So who is gonna fave my David Copperfield tweets, I guess is my point?!

March 4, 2016

This Is Not an Introduction 2

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There is no possibility David Markson would have thought of being fashionable. But without any calculation, David’s writing has come to be considered very of-the-moment.

March 1, 2016

Theaters of the Mind: Radio & Literature 4

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Radio is like literature, like our thoughts: moving, shifting, often clouded in static, and yet sometimes out of the maddening noise comes clarity.

February 29, 2016

I Was a Teenage Neil Patrick Harris 4

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The motherfucker looked more like me than he had when we were young. I was growing into him, as if we were a pair of trees rooted too close together.