paper trail

Adam Kirsch on Elena Ferrante and cultural appropriation; Nicholson Baker on memory

Nicholson Baker

Poynter talks to David Fahrenthold, the Washington Post reporter whose articles on Donald Trump’s mishandling of charitable funds resulted in his foundation’s suspension and investigation by the New York attorney general. Fahrenthold credits social media with helping him find some of Trump’s misdeeds: “There was the $10,000 4-foot portrait. I only found out about it because somebody had seen I was writing about it on Twitter.”

Adam Kirsch writes about the revelation that Elena Ferrante is likely the translator Anita Raja, arguing that it makes a good case for cultural appropriation in literature: “It turns out that in telling the story of poor Neapolitan girls like Lina and Elena, Ms. Raja was claiming the right to imagine the lives of people quite unlike herself,” Kirsch writes. “In doing so, she was able to write books in which millions of people found themselves reflected.” At The Cut, Noreen Malone writes that knowing Elena Ferrante’s identity doesn’t change anything about the experience of reading her books: “The Bible didn’t come directly from God, and Shakespeare maybe had some help.”

After Univision declined to include in their purchase of Gawker Media, debtors are now trying to figure out how to liquidate the defunct website and navigate the complex claims on the site's assets.

Nicholas Sparks, who has written twenty books in twenty years, talked to the Wall Street Journal about the twentieth anniversary of The Notebook, as well as his new novel. Two by Two came out yesterday and features Sparks’s first ever gay characters. “I try to vary everything in these novels, whether it’s structure or length of point of view, but also characters,” he said.

Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids author Nicholson Baker talks to the Paris Review about pencil sharpeners, the problems of the American public school system, and technology as a memory aid. Along with copious written notes, Baker made audio recordings of his work days to get the details of student conversation just right. “There’s a moment where one of the kids, Artie, says, ‘I’ll tell you what’s not acceptable, what if I whipped down my pants and took a shit on your grave?’ I scribbled it down, as if I was a reporter in 1937, but I knew even as I wrote it that I hadn’t gotten it quite right. That’s when I realized that I had to rely on technology, to some extent, to capture the exact wording of little sudden outbursts.”