Paper Trail

Christine Smallwood profiles Lydia Millet; Timothy Shenk on Obama’s lost book manuscript

Lydia Millet. Photo: Nola Millet

For the New York Times Magazine, Christine Smallwood profiles Lydia Millet, whose latest novel, Dinosaurs, will be published next week. Millet lives in Arizona, where she works at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Writing and conservation are both aspects of vocation for me,” she tells Smallwood. “She wouldn’t feel like herself if she didn’t write novels and stories, but ‘it feels self-indulgent to do only that. It’s not the same as action.’” 

In the current issue of the New York Review of Books, Sigrid Nunez reviews Getting Lost, the newly translated 2001 diary by 2022 Nobel Literature laureate Annie Ernaux. The unedited diary covers much of the same events narrated in Simple Passion, Ernaux’s 1991 memoir of an affair, but is about five times as long, and dispenses with the author’s prior qualms about revealing her lover’s identity. Nunez writes: “As a matador-writer Ernaux has always faced the bull’s horns. She is a master of close and graceful capework, and, as in any bullfight, it is the show of courage before danger and possible disaster that enthralls the spectator.”

Since Ernaux’s Nobel win yesterday, all her New York events next week have sold out, except one

In the New York Times, Timothy Shenk has adapted an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Realigners: Partisan Hacks, Political Visionaries, and the Struggle to Rule American Democracy, into an op-ed about a lost manuscript by Barack Obama. Obama wrote the manuscript, Transformative Politics, with a friend, Robert Fisher. Shenk writes that it’s shame more people haven’t been able to read the abandoned book: “Speaking with a candor he would soon be unable to afford, Mr. Obama directed his fire across the entire political spectrum. He denounced a broken status quo in which cynical Republicans outmaneuvered feckless Democrats in a racialized culture war, leaving most Americans trapped in a system that gave them no real control over their lives.”  

The shortlist for the Paris Photo–Aperture PhotoBook Awards have been announced. Among the thirty-five books are works by Marilyn Nance, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Justine Kurland. The winners will be announced on November 11. 

Tomorrow (Saturday) at 1pm ET, Donald Moss and T. J. Clark will discuss Moss’s new book, Psychoanalysis in a Plague Year, along with Giuseppe Civitarese and other guests. The book collects one sentence spoken by one of Moss’s analysis patients every day for a year of “COVID time.” The event is online with a sliding-scale donation fee.