paper trail

How Haruki Murakami became a writer; Brexit gothic fiction

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami talks to the New Yorker’s Deborah Treisman about cats, alternate worlds, and how he became a writer. Murakami says that inspiration struck at a Yakult Swallows baseball game in Tokyo. “The first batter hit a double, and at that moment I got a feeling I could write. Maybe I’d drunk too much beer,” he explained. “Before that I hadn’t written anything at all. I was the owner of a jazz club, and I was so busy making cocktails and sandwiches. I make very good sandwiches! But after that game I went to the stationery store and bought some supplies, and then I started writing and I became a writer.”

Neil McRobert wonders what gothic fiction about Brexit and the current global political situation will look like. “In our deeply divided society, monstrosity depends, more than ever, on perspective. I can talk about racists and tyrants in a postmodern way that reassigns monstrosity to those who would oppress alternative lifestyles or cultures,” he writes. “But to the ardent Brexiter or Trump supporter, the other may still scare. How can we reconcile these terrors?”

Tessa Hadley talks to The Guardian about marriage, death, and her new novel, Late in the Day.

At The Outline, Mari Cohen and Christian Belanger argue that journalism should not be hidden behind paywalls. “If journalists really believe that what they do is a public good, they should make sure that it is accessible to as many people as possible, not just those who can afford subscriptions to a half-dozen newspapers,” they write. “When we produce investigations into public corruption, or publish articles that help readers learn more about the institutions from which they seek housing, health care, and education, we should want our work to have the widest audience possible. And that includes people without extra disposable income to toss at paywalls.”

For Garage magazine, Ottessa Moshfegh profiles her idol, Whoopi Goldberg.

The Ringer’s Alison Herman praises the commenters of the New York Times’s Cooking section, a group that inspires “downright bonhomie toward my fellow man.” “We made the conscious decision not to call them comments,” food editor Sam Sifton explains. “The call to action was to leave a note on the recipe that helps make it better. That’s very different from ‘Leave a comment on a recipe.’ And the comment might be ‘I hate you.’ ‘You’re an asshole.’ ‘This is bad.’ And that’s helpful to no one.”