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Charles Portis has died; Brandon Taylor on being a “reluctant novelist”

Brandon Taylor. Photo: Bill Adams

The reclusive writer Charles Portis—author of Norwood and True Grit, among other novels—has died at the age of eighty-six. The New York Times characterizes his work as a mix of “deadpan humor, oddball characters and occasional bursts of melodrama.” For more on Portis, see Ed Park’s 2003 essay from The Believer: “Like Cormac McCarthy, But Funny.”

At The Outline, Leah Finnegan makes the case for why “We Should All Read more Jenny Diski”: “The casual frankness with which Diski writes is striking, and a necessary tonic in a media landscape prone to making everything seem more urgent than it is.”

The New York Review of Books has excerpted Lauren Groff’s introduction to a new volume of Lorrie Moore’s Collected Stories. Groff recalls the thrill of encountering Moore’s work as a young writer: “I not only wanted to create more books so that I could give myself something to read; I wanted to create more books in the very particular voice of Lorrie Moore. That this was a fool’s errand would become painfully clear in a few years; Lorrie Moore’s voice is, of course, singular and irreproducible.”

At LitHub, Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life, describes what it’s like to be a “reluctant novelist.”

Tonight at McNally Jackson, a discussion about criticism in the social-media age with Eric Banks, Caleb Crain, Naomi Fry, and Ben Ratliff.