paper trail

A profile of English novelist Gwendoline Riley; Blair McClendon on California and James Benning’s films

James Benning. Photo: Manfred Werner/Tsui/Wikimedia Commons

Online at the New York Review of Books, Blair McClendon writes about California, American spectacle, and James Benning’s installations and films, which “are perhaps best categorized as landscapes.” Benning’s latest film, The United States of America, is a remake of a 1975 work, and seems to offer portraits of each state—but all the footage was shot in California. Of his home state, McClendon writes: “California is a brutal place playing at paradise. Benning looks long enough at the land to see its pretensions and its realities.” 

The latest issue of New Left Review is now online, with Benjamin Kunkel on Joseph North’s Literary Criticism, John-Baptiste Oduor on Adolph L. Reed Jr.’s The South, a posthumous piece by Peter Wollen on Bertolt Brecht and Hollywood, and more. 

At Vulture, Rachel Connolly profiles British novelist Gwendoline Riley, whose two most recent novels, First Love and My Phantoms, are being published in the US this fall by New York Review Books. At one point during their visit to the Tate Museum, in reply to Connolly’s comment that her books are funny, Riley said: “Okay, I’ve got this terrible thing when someone says that: I scowl and say, ‘They’re not supposed to be funny.’ And if someone says, ‘Oh God, it was so hurtful,’ I say, ‘It was supposed to be funny.’”

Christopher Lloyd writes about the experience of selling his late parents’ book collection and reflects on his family’s history of reading and collecting books. 

On the latest episode of Chris Hayes’s podcast, Why Is This Happening?, Anne Helen Petersen, co-author of the book Out of Office, discusses the future of work-from-home, the office, and how companies need to redefine where and how we work.