Essays Archives - Page 73 of 102 - The Millions

April 20, 2011

Going Native: Writing Place in Los Angeles 32

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The distance any of us non-New York writers have from New York is frustrating, but also valuable. There’s an option to retreat from the noise–or, okay, the music–that I don’t think a writer in, say, Brooklyn has. This distance has benefited me for the last four years, as I write and write, without looking up, or around, me.

April 19, 2011

How Avant Is It? Zadie Smith, Tom McCarthy, and the Novel’s Way Forward 25

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Huge claims have been made on behalf of the novelist Tom McCarthy. But what do they actually tell us about “the future of fiction?”

April 11, 2011

Are Run-On Subtitles Literature’s New Flop Sweat? 16

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Suddenly, every time I walked into a bookstore or read a review, I started noticing similarly breathless subtitles. What had struck me initially as the odd unfortunate decision now began to look like a full-blown trend.

March 22, 2011

Whale Music 1

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Just before Christmas a package arrived containing what I imagine is the only extant edition of Melville’s leviathan that—excluding preface, reviews, letters, commentaries, and scholarly articles—comes in shy of five hundred pages. The tiny print like lines of black pepper ground over a white sauce.

March 21, 2011

The Great Read Shark: Fear and Loathing at 40 27

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When the Flower Children finished sitting in and singing mean songs about the president, most cut their hair and found jobs. But not Raoul Duke.

March 17, 2011

Henry James and the Joys of Binge Reading 19

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It is clear that James is not passé, and never was. He is, in fact, perhaps more relevant than ever; but his works lie in a strange place outside of time, and they were written that way.

March 16, 2011

Birth Stories: On Books About Having a Baby 15

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Now that I’m pregnant myself (26 weeks along at the time of this writing), it’s becoming increasingly clear that the stories women hear about childbirth affect their attitudes about it.

March 9, 2011

Experimental Champions: Three European Masterworks Worth Reconsidering 8

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European writers have the ability (perhaps the freedom) to be applauded as experimentalists, while also being championed by the literary establishment.

March 8, 2011

Grief, the Cruel and Fickle Muse 21

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Grief, all of a sudden, is hot.  Books by authors who have lost a loved one are becoming so common they’re now a classifiable snowflake in the unending blizzard of memoirs.

March 4, 2011

Zooming Out: How Writers Create Our Visual Grammar 19

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Think of the long list of visual cues we take for granted. How do we know, without struggling to process the fact, that a scene shot from three angles by three cameras is the same scene? How can we tell the difference in emotional register between a series of rapid-fire cuts and a single, slow, agonizing take?