paper trail

Apr 22, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Joshua Ferris

Tonight at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Joshua Ferris discusses his new novel The Unnamed with Daniel Menaker. Ferris, whose first novel, Then We Came to the End, won wide acclaim for its mix of office angst and first-person-plural laughs, takes a different tack with The Unnamed, a Beckett-esque fable about the perils of compulsive perambulation

M. P. Shiel's 1901 work A Purple Cloud is puffy with purple prose, but oddly prescient.   

Naked Launch: A frozen moment when you realize that the newly syndicated Barnes and Noble reviews on Salon might be a bit undercooked. Stefan Beck sends Naked Lunch back to the kitchen with a dismissive sniff, provoking scuffles in the comments section—many eloquent, some half-baked; De gustibus non est disputandum. As Charles Poole put it in his 1962 review, "in Naked Lunch . . . the insufferable prig and the insufferable sinner will find a forlorn meeting ground."

In the East African, John Mwazemba writes that for African fiction writers, "Fame and famine meet in an awkward embrace," while in the Daily Nation Evan Mwangi wonders why the region is still considered a "literary dwarf." Last year, James Gibbons explored "a superabundance within the continent’s many literatures," but found that "it is a literature largely of displacement and exile." In South Africa, The Independent proclaims that writers "have discovered levity in the face of gloom, reflecting both the country's dysfunction and its promise."