• July 11, 2012

    Bookforum talks to Kate Zambreno

    Kate Zambreno is the author of the novels O Fallen Angel and Green Girl and of the forthcoming memoir-slash literary investigation of the overlooked women of Modernism, Heroines. She also finds time to write the excellent blog, Frances Farmer Is My Sister. Green Girl revolves around Ruth, a young American girl who’s working as a temp at a London department store (which she always refers to as Horrid’s). Ruth is kind of aimless; we don’t know a lot about the substance of her life. We know that her mother is dead and she isn’t in regular contact with her father. She doesn’t have any real friends

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  • Heidi Julavits
    June 13, 2012

    Bookforum talks to Heidi Julavits

    In The Vanishers, Heidi Julavits uses the framework of a paranormal mystery novel to examine the psychological intersections between illness, grief and the unbridgeable distances between mothers and daughters. Her protagonist, Julia Severn, is a gifted young psychic studying at the Institute of Integrated Parapsychology under the tutelage of her mentor, and soon to be adversary, Madame Ackermann. When Severn comes down with a mysterious and debilitating illness, later discovered to be the result of a psychic attack, she is forced to leave the Institute. Soon thereafter, she is swept up in an

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  • May 30, 2012

    Bookforum talks to Donald Antrim

    Donald Antrim is the author of three novels and a memoir, The Afterlife. Recently, Picardor started reprinting the novels with new introductions by Antrim admirers Jonathan Franzen (who calls The Hundred Brothers “possibly the strangest novel ever published by an American) and George Saunders (who introduces The Verificationist, about a man who has an out-of-body experience while meeting with fellow psychoanalysts in a pancake house). In June, Antrim’s Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World will be reissued with an introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides.

    There’s an unmistakable difference between

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  • Tom Bissell
    May 18, 2012

    Bookforum talks to Tom Bissell

    We’re fortunate to live in a time where a handful of enormously gifted writers are revitalizing the essay form. One example is Tom Bissell, whose new collection, Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, adds up to a kind of narrative of contemporary culture, weighing in on video games, underground literary movements, bad movies and the fates of great writers. Before his recent reading with his friend and fellow writer Gideon Lewis-Kraus at KGB Bar in New York, I spent an hour with Tom Bissell at his cousin’s apartment in Manhattan, where he and his girlfriend were staying while they were

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  • April 23, 2012

    Bookforum talks to Ellen Ullman

    Ellen Ullman’s latest novel, By Blood, is narrated by a psychologically unstable academic who, while on a forced leave of absence in San Francisco, discovers that he can hear a young woman’s therapy sessions through the walls of his office. He gradually becomes obsessed with the patient, going so far as to surreptitiously help her uncover disturbing truths about her family history. All of this unfolds against the backdrop of 1970s San Francisco, a world that Ullman depicts through her narrator’s troubled mind as an urban nightmare. In addition to By Blood, Ullman is the author of Close to the

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  • April 16, 2012

    Bookforum talks to Laurent Dubois

    What most people know about Haiti can be reduced to two statements: Haiti is the world's first independent black nation—the country declared its independence from France on January 1, 1804—and Haiti is presently the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Unfortunately, the country's political victories are often overshadowed by media images of malnourished children and bedraggled homes. In his most recent book, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, historian and Duke University professor Laurent Dubois considers this lapse in historical memory.

    Aftershocks of History unpacks Haiti’s legacy

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  • April 10, 2012

    Bookforum talks to the White Review

    The first thing that catches your eye about the London-based White Review’s third issue is the color gradient on the cover, which shades from a mesmerizing forest green to light burnt orange. After this, it's what's inside: The magazine features an impressive variety of work—from poetry and fiction translated from Japanese, Spanish, and Yiddish to reports on the extinction of whales in the Antarctic and stories of Perec and the Situationists in Belleville. In addition to producing a quarterly print publication, the White Review publishes monthly online issues and programs events in London and

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  • David Graeber
    March 19, 2012

    Bookforum talks with David Graeber

    David Graeber is an anthropologist, anarchist, the author of Debt: the First 5,000 Years, a professor at Goldsmith's, University of London, and one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, which is the subject of his forthcoming book. Bookforum spoke with the writer in Los Angeles about the future of anthropology, ecstatic moments in activism, and the problem of political imagination.

    Bookforum: You're an anthropologist who has written a book that combines history, economics, and philosophy. What drew you to anthropology as a discipline?

    David Graeber: I got involved in anthropology largely

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  • March 07, 2012

    Ellen Willis Roundtable with Sasha Frere-Jones, Emily Gould, and Sara Marcus

    Last Spring, the University of Minnesota Press published Out of the Vinyl Deeps, a collection of critic Ellen Willis’s music writings. Willis became the first pop music critic for the New Yorker in 1968, earning the post on the strength of an essay about Bob Dylan she wrote for Commentary,which caught the eye of William Shawn. She held the post until 1975, filing deeply insightful articles about the Velvet Underground, Elvis in Vegas, Woodstock, and her beloved Rolling Stones.

    She was a force in the nascent field of pop criticism, setting precedents that music critics still look to today. But

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  • February 22, 2012

    Bookforum talks with Geoff Dyer

    A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Geoff Dyer on the phone about—well, what, exactly? The idea was to discuss his new book, Zona, but we ended up drifting over so many other topics that I never even bothered to ask him why he wanted to write about Tarkovsky’s The Stalker in the first place. Before the actual interview began we chatted about his review of Richard Bradford’s Martin Amis: the Biography, and by the end he was giving me advice about which David Markson book I should read first. Our interview, in other words, assumed the shape of a Geoff Dyer book. But even though we never made it

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  • Sergio González Rodríguez
    February 17, 2012

    Bookforum talks with Sergio González Rodríguez

    American readers may not be familiar with Sergio González Rodríguez by name, but fans of Spanish-language fiction are likely aware of him. One of Mexico’s leading writers and political agitators, González Rodríguez has been featured in the novels of Roberto Bolaño (2666) and Javier Marias (Dark Back of Time) for his research into the more than three hundred female homicides in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez. In 2002, González Rodríguez published Bones in the Desert, an investigative account of the homicides that set out to prove that in Mexico, “the rule of law... is fiction.” Despite being banned from

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  • February 10, 2012

    Bookforum talks to John Jeremiah Sullivan

    Whether there’s any doubt about whether John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead was one of the best books of 2011 (which, for my money, there shouldn’t be), it was certainly one of the most highly praised. The debut essay collection received soaring reviews in the national media (the New York Times gave it one in the Book Review and another in the paper); it was the subject of a four-page essay by James Wood in the New Yorker, and, in Bookforum, it prompted J. C. Gabel to describe Sullivan as “among the best of his generation’s essayists.” A contributing editor to GQ, Harper’s, the New York Times

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