paper trail

Elvia Wilk’s new essay collection; Lessons from the Penguin Random House antitrust trial

Elvia Wilk. Photo: Nina Subin

The Atlantic has published Daniel Smith’s “A Recently Divorced Man Dreams Uneasily in His New Apartment,” the first of five very-short stories “displaying the virtue of lightness” that the magazine will share this month. 

For the New Yorker, novelist and Dorothy editor Danielle Dutton writes about Ann Quin’s 1972 novel, Tripticks. The book, which Dutton describes as the author’s homage to her birth-control pills, is Quin’s “most pointedly satirical work,” taking up the techniques and mascismo of the Beats. “Yet, just as the novel is a parodic takedown of nineteen-sixties American culture that both mocks and engages seriously with the material of that culture,” Dutton notes, “so, too, does the book seem to simultaneously utilize the cut-up and to stand firmly outside the traditionally macho aesthetic with which it is associated.”

At The Nation, Lynne Feeley considers Elvia Wilk’s new collection, Death by Landscape, and the new genres Wilk discusses in her essays, from solarpunk fiction to “the New Weird” narratives.

The New York Times reports on what the Penguin Random House antitrust trial has revealed about the inner workings of the publishing industry: no one knows exactly how to predict which books will become best-sellers, author advances can be determined by very subjective measures, and “a miniscule percentage of books generate the vast majority of profits.” 

For LitHub, Alexa T. Dodd writes about predatory vanity presses, which promise success and wealth if you pay them to publish your book. Dodd details her five-year involvement with one of these companies, which ended badly: “After five years and two books, I received the bizarre and poorly-written mass email from a member of the company, saying that the CEO was a thief and the company a scam that didn’t even pay its employees.”