paper trail

Jan 31, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

Haruki Murakami

We’ve just heard that Sheila Heti’s second novel, How Should A Person Be?, has been sold to Henry Holt for publication in summer 2012. We’ve been praising the book since the day we scored a copy from Toronto’s House of Anansi Press this fall, and were puzzled by the seeming lack of stateside interest in publishing it. One Observer article, an excerpt in n+1, and some proclamations of Heti’s talent from literati such as n+1 editor Mark Greif and art critic Dave Hickey and—presto!—as Heti told us in an email: “There were three other houses interested, so things did turn around very quickly indeed, and I'm happy.”

Haruki Murakami’s highly anticipated fifteen-hundred-page-plus novel,1Q84, will be published by Knopf in a single volume in October.

After the Tucson shootings, pundits strained to discern a liberal or conservative bent to suspect Jared Lee Loughner’s incoherent ideology by examining the books that he supposedly read (Plato, Peter Pan, Mein Kampf). At the Times, Geoff Nicholson reflects on the “perils of literary profiling,” writing: “Books are acquired for all kinds of reasons, including curiosity, irony, guilty pleasure and the desire to understand the enemy (not to mention free review copies), but you try telling that to a G-man.”

This Sunday, the French cultural institute Villa Gillet continued its stellar “Walls and Bridges” literary series, with an event at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn dedicated to fiction and philosophy. The standing-room-only audience enjoyed a lively discussion moderated by Tin House’s Rob Spillman, as panelists Pierre Cassou-Noguès, Rick Moody, Avital Ronell, and Benjamin Walker discussed the intersections of the two disciplines. The wide-ranging talk culminated in a challenge from Cassou-Noguès to Moody to compose what the French author considered an unrealizable fiction: “Take, for instance, the invisible man . . .Can you tell the same story in the realm of touch? There is not a story about the untouchable man . . . because it is impossible.” Moody gamely accepted the challenge, and told the audience that if the many writers present at the event submitted such a story to him in one year, he would edit an “untouchable man” anthology and attempt to get it published.