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Sunday, October 1, 2023

So Fierce Is The World: On Loneliness And Phillip Seymour Hoffmann, by Richard Deming, The Paris Review

The desolation of loneliness, like the connected problems of substance abuse and depression, comes from the feeling that the experience—when one is in it—will never end. That is why, sometimes, people choose to end it for themselves. If we are to keep going, push through, or slip around it, I believe we must reinvent loneliness in order to survive it. I have been trying to do this my whole life.

An Ambitious, Stinging Novel Inspired By A Real-life Literary Scandal, by Laila Lalami, Washington Post

To write as a marginalized writer is to face, sooner or later, questions of authenticity and imagination. Reviewers from outside your community might approach your work the way an ethnologist would, focusing so much on cultural detail that they miss (or worse, dismiss) its literary value. Those from inside your community, meanwhile, might treat your fiction as a vessel of representation, combing through the text in hope of having it reflect their entire lived experience. But is authenticity all that important in fiction? What role does that leave to beauty, playfulness or mystery? These are concerns that the Senegalese novelist Mohamed Mbougar Sarr explores in his brainy and beautiful novel “The Most Secret Memory of Men.”

Stephen King Finds Terror In The Ordinary In New Pandemic-set Novel ‘Holly’, by Rob Merrill, Associated Press

In half a century of writing horror novels, Stephen King has created some remarkable villains. Who can forget the sing-song voice of Pennywise the clown, the devil incarnate Randall Flagg, or the drooling jaws of Cujo? The big bads in King’s latest novel, “Holly,” aren’t quite so memorable, but that’s part of what makes them terrifying.

A Married Couple On The Rocks Switch Bodies — And Fall In Love All Over Again, by Noah Berlatsky, Los Angels Times

“People Collide,” by Isle McElroy, is a delightfully gimmicky novel about how gender is a gimmick. It starts off with a tried-and-true fictional premise, the semi-dysfunctional marriage, but then turns that marriage inside out, just about literally. The result is a story that finds queerness at the core of heterosexual marriage and, conversely, a heterosexual romance arc inside a gender transition novel.

Land Of Milk And Honey By C Pam Zhang Review – Food, Sex And Morality In The End Times, by Sarah Moss, The Guardian

This is a rich novel of ideas, insisting on moral complexity in the end times. It’s also a startling prose hymn to food and sex, love and violence, power and resistance. It is not, in the end, devoid of the optimism without which we have no agency for change.

Inside The Rivalries, Feuds,Triumphs And Failures At The New York Times, by Alan Rusbridger, New York Times

“The Times,” the latest book about the paper’s history, begins in 1976 and covers two publishers, seven executive editors, a financial meltdown, a reinvented business model and a revolutionary transformation in how journalism itself is done, ending with the 2016 presidential election. Written by Adam Nagourney, a veteran Times reporter, it is something of a white-knuckle ride with — spoiler alert — a broadly happy ending.

It is not necessarily a book for those who have a favorite restaurant but would rather not know what goes on in the kitchen. Nagourney describes his journalistic colleagues as “by their nature self-reliant, secretive, insecure, competitive, sensitive and suspicious. They have sprawling egos and high self-regard.”

Impeachments, #MeToo, Trump: Running The Washington Post During A Decade Of Turmoil, by Sewell Chan, New York Times

Baron’s “Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and The Washington Post,” is less a traditional memoir than a closely observed, gripping chronicle of politics and journalism during a decade of turmoil. (Baron joined The Post in 2013 and retired in 2021.) Against a backdrop of electoral upheaval, the #MeToo movement, a contested Supreme Court nomination, two impeachment trials and an insurrection, his monumental book tells three distinct but overlapping stories.

Notice To Appear, by Leslie Sainz, Literary Hub

It goes doorbell
(two beats)
then knocking
(three or more beats)