Paper Trail

Russian journalist Elena Kostyuchenko’s account of being poisoned; Justin Taylor’s forthcoming novel, “Reboot”

At n+1, Russian journalist Elena Kostyuchenko writes about why she left Ukraine, how she discovered that she has been poisoned, and how she continues to suffer from the poisoning. “I want to live. That’s why I’m writing this,” she says. “I also want my colleagues and friends, activists, and political refugees currently living abroad to be careful. More careful than I have been. We are not safe and we will not be safe until there is regime change in Russia. The work we do helps to bring this regime down, and it is defending itself.” Kostyuchenko’s book I Love Russia, which includes her reporting from Ukraine and elsewhere, and which “is about how Russia descended into fascism,” will be published this fall from Penguin Press.

Bookforum contributor Justin Taylor’s new novel, Reboot, has a cover and a pub date: April 23, 2024. According to Pantheon, the novel is “a raucous and wickedly smart satire of Hollywood, toxic fandom, and our chronically online culture, following a washed-up actor on his quest to revive the cult TV drama that catapulted him to teenage fame.”

The Paris Review has a preview of Alex Katz: Collaboration with Poets, which will be released in September. The painter has worked with a number of writers, many of them members of the first and second generations of the New York School, notably John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley, and Ron Padgett. As art historian Debra Bricker Balken writes in the new book: “What Katz found so compelling about this scene was its complete disregard for aesthetic precedent, irreverence for an academy of poetry, and gravitation toward vernacular expression, where words were less pondered and possessed an immediacy that spoke of nowness.” 

Ned Beauman has won the Arthur C. Clarke award for science fiction with his “twisted” novel Venomous Lumpsucker, which is “set in the 2030s and follows the search for a surviving colony of a hyper-intelligent species of fish.” According to the award’s director Tom Hunter, the book “takes science fiction’s knack for future extrapolation and aggressively applies it to humanity’s shortsighted self-interest and consumptive urges in the face of planetary eco-crisis.” 

The New Yorker has named Jackson Arn as its new art critic. Arn will fill the role long held by Peter Schjeldahl, who died in 2022. 

Author Gabe Hudson devotes the latest episode of his podcast Kurt Vonnegut Radio to novelist Akhil Sharma (Family Life). The two are friends, and the episode opens with them talking about the ways that Hudson has helped Sharma. “I don’t have like great boundaries,” Hudson says, “because I wasn’t raised in an environment where anybody had any boundaries, and so I’m like very emotionally available, and I care a lot, which I think some people could call my one . . . fault.” The two go on to talk about how tragedy and shame shaped Sharma’s life and writing and why he reads Tolstoy backwards.