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What do thriller writers do now? Plus: Victor LaValle's personal literary canon

Chuck Klosterman

For Pride week, the New York Times has assembled a twenty-year timeline of LGBTQ lit.

Karen Rinaldi, a senior vice president of Harper Collins and the author of the novel The End of Men, ponders the difference between writing and editing. For years, editing was her profession, something she saw as a service to writers: “The task is both monastic and intimate—we edit in silence in order to listen to the voice of the writer—and the skilled editor must suspend not only ego, but inner voice as well, to make room for another’s.” But when she became a writer, she gained a deeper sense of the editor’s role: “Only by being on the receiving end of the editing process could I see editing as an act of generosity and love.”

Publishers Weekly has posted its Fall 2017 announcements for Literary Fiction and Essays & Literary Criticism.

Chuck Klosterman—who has written about music, movies, sports, and ethics, among other things—says of his new collection, Chuck Klosterman X, that rereading his old writing is “the worst kind of time machine.” “I’m just compelled to want to rewrite everything I’ve ever written. My dream life would have been if I could have written my first book forever and never have it come out … but be rich. Every time I go back and I read something that I’ve written before, I see things that could have been different.” Still, some things he got wrong the first time around turn out to be right in the long run: “Sometimes you accidentally say something that becomes meaningful, even though that wasn’t the original intent. There’s an essay in there about Tim Tebow, and at one point I’m writing about the 2012 election, and Obama running against at the time whoever he would face, the unknown candidate. And I pose this hypothetical about a candidate who comes forward and has no plan, and basically just tells people to have faith in him. I framed it and set it up as an implausible, irrational scenario – and that actually happened four years later!”

Jonathan Coe recently suggested that satire will face difficulties in the age of Trump; now, at the Washington Post, Joseph Finder says that the president is also posing challenges for thriller novelists. “In an age of the surpassingly strange—possible election meddling and business favor-peddling and the firing of a real-life director of the FBI—how can a writer like me hope to compete? What are we supposed to write when we’re living in a thriller?”

Victor LaValle, the author of the new novel The Changeling, ponders the books that have shaped him as a writer: “The first book I ever loved, like walked around with it and never let it go, was probably Stephen King’s It.”