paper trail

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio discusses mental health and the “American dream”; David Klion reads a new anthology from The Atlantic

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio. Photo © Talya Zemach-Bersin

At the New Republic, David Klion looks at a new anthology of writing from The Atlantic from the last four years. Klion sees the magazine’s project as one of defending “American liberalism in the face of Trump’s clownish barbarism.” But, Klion argues, the default position of insistent reasonableness may have run its course: “What really comes through is the institutional voice of The Atlantic, which makes itself felt in nearly every contribution: clean, authoritative, high-minded, rigorously empirical, more than a bit self-righteous—and, once you’ve heard it enough times, utterly tedious.”

Ottessa Moshfegh goes on the Granta podcast to discuss her latest novel, Death in Her Hands, and the “perfect storm” conditions of pandemic life.

At the New York Times, Concepción de León interviews Karla Cornejo Villavicencio about her National Book Award–finalist debut, The Undocumented Americans, pushing back against caricature and one-dimensional narratives, and how she sees her work: “I think the meaning of my life is to make other people hurt less.” On questioning the “American dream,” Villavicencio responds: “I think people should have their own relationship to the American dream, and it shouldn’t be something you can pick up inscribed on a T.J. Maxx pillow.”

To better report on tech, An Xiao Mina writes at Columbia Journalism Review, journalists need to understand the complexities of reporting on China—taking censorship in the mainland into account while also combating imprecise language and framing. “Technology writers have a responsibility to help the general public understand US-China tensions by showing the complex dynamics behind power and technology, without replicating colonialist or xenophobic narratives that have historically been leveraged against China.”

Former Crown publisher Molly Stern has started her own independent imprint, with a new kind of business model: “Rather than relying chiefly on bookstores, retailers, advertising and other traditional channels to promote authors, she plans to team up with high-profile individuals, companies and brands, who will act as publishing partners and promote books to their fans and customers.”

Tonight at 7 PM EST, McNally Jackson bookstore hosts a virtual event with artists and writers Harry Dodge and Fred Moten to discuss Dodge’s recent genre-defying book, My Meteorite.