paper trail

Mary Gaitskill on why novels are more difficult than stories; Jennifer Senior on endings

Mary Gaitskill

On her last day at the paper, New York Times book critic Jennifer Senior reflects on endings and acknowledgement sections in books. Even though they can be “numbingly predictable,” Senior professes her love for these “little Levittowns of gratitude” that expose “how the truth about the wretchedness of book-writing finally comes tumbling out, and the combination of neuroticism and relief, pride and latent terror.” 

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is working on a book. Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era combines Ramos’s “own story of emigrating from Mexico with a critique of Trump’s policies” and will be published by Vintage next February.

Freelance writers for Nautilus allege that the magazine owes them $50,000 collectively for work they’ve done over the past year.

Mary Gaitskill talks to Poets & Writers about teaching, unreliable narrators, and why novels are harder to write than short stories. Gaitskill’s first book contract included both a novel and a short story collection. She had already been working on the stories for Bad Behavior, but was overwhelmed by the idea of writing a longer book. “It’s like I was a cat that had been in a house all of its life, and all of a sudden a door was flung open. And I was flooded with sights and smells and was crazily running over in one direction wondering what was going on there and getting distracted,” Gaitskill said. “It was a total feeling of freedom. But I didn’t know what to do with it.”

Kevin Roose delves into the alt-right’s version of the internet, and says that the poor quality of its websites undermine the group’s perceived political power. After social media sites like Facebook and Twitter began removing hate speech from their platforms, “hard-right activists vowed to create their own versions of these digital services, on which all views would be welcome, no matter how crude or incendiary,” he explains. But Roose writes that the resulting websites hardly compare to their mainstream counterparts. “If the alt-right’s ideology harks back to 1940s Germany, its web design might transport you to 1990s GeoCities.”