paper trail

Chigozie Obioma on fate and tragedy; Annie Proulx's climate change reading list

Chigozie Obioma. Photo: Zach Mueller

Emma Brockes ||talks to| Chigozie Obioma about migration, fate, and his new book, An Orchestra of Minorities. Obioma’s novel was partly inspired by the death of his friend, Jay. A fellow Nigerian immigrant and classmate of Obioma’s in Cyprus,“Jay had been duped by the middle men both into thinking the university . . . would be a springboard into Europe.” But after realizing that he had been lied to about career prospects and access to Europe, Jay was found dead from a fall after a night of drinking. Obioma says that situations like these are why his stories rarely have happy endings. “I want to write a feelgood story. But I think that because I’m fascinated with the metaphysics of existence, I keep thinking why, of all the people who came to Cyprus, was it Jay who died?” he explained. “When you think about these things, and you want to write fiction around that, the path it takes you to can feel inevitable and tragic.”

At The Guardian, Annie Proulx offers a climate change reading list, featuring titles by Tim Flannery, Amitav Ghosh, and more.

Patrick Radden Keefe tells Columbia Journalism Review about Ireland’s Troubles, Brexit, and his new book, Say Nothing.

At the New York Review of Books, Tim Parks wonders whether a translation of a work can be a masterpiece on its own. “Doesn’t translating a work of literature inevitably involve moving things around and altering many of the relations between the words in the original?” he asks. “Unless, that is, we are going to think of a translation as a quite different work with its own inner logic and inspiration, only casually related to that foreign original.”