paper trail

A profile of Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin; Kathryn Schulz on her new memoir

Kathryn Schulz. Photo:  Michael Polito. 

At the New York Times, Alexandra Alter profiles the iconoclastic, dystopian Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin, as American publishers plan to publish eight new translations of his books. “The attention comes as his portraits of Russia as a decaying former empire that’s sliding backward under a militaristic, violent and repressive regime have come to seem tragically prescient,” Alter writes. “As Russia carries out its brutal invasion of Ukraine, Sorokin sees the conflict not just as a military onslaught, but as a semantic war being waged through propaganda and lies—an assault on truth that writers must combat.” “His books are like entering a crazy nightmare, and I mean that as a compliment,” the novelist Gary Shteyngart notes. “He was able to find the right vocabulary with which to articulate the truth.”

For the Bibliofile podcast, Nigel Beale talks with critic Kathryn Schulz “about Lost and Found, her just published memoir, about making the planet less lonely, dark places, a sense of the beautiful, math formulas, love, death, loss, discovery, commonplace experiences, the history of words, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, being proud of others, privacy, foggy grief, technicolor worlds, noticing details, surprises, essays and memoirs, bearing witness,” and more.

The Los Angeles Times has put together a guide to literary Los Angeles, covering the city’s bookstores, writer scenes, and literary history. 

Book deals: In a nine-publisher auction, Pantheon purchased two books by journalist Mary Annette Pember. Pember’s debut book of nonfiction, slated for publication in 2024, will cover “her mother’s experience at a Native American boarding school, their complicated relationship, and the history and ongoing trauma of America’s policy of forced assimilation of Native peoples.” The second book is “an embedded, reported book about missing and murdered Indigenous women.”  . . . . Random House has bought Deepak Chopra’s new book, Toward Quantum Medicine, for a reported six figures. 

Tonight, at 7pm Eastern time, the NYPL will host a virtual event featuring Pulitzer-winning author Margo Jefferson—author of Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir—with New Yorker staff writer Doreen St. Félix, “about interrogating her own self, the act of writing memoir, and probing the fissures at the center of American cultural life.”