• Abdulrazak Gurnah. Photo: Amrei-Marie.
    September 01, 2022

    Patrick Blanchfield on Freud; Abdulrazak Gurnah on his latest novel

    Patrick Blanchfield writes for the New Republic about Freud’s last days in Vienna: “If Freud himself, so attuned to the dark undercurrents of human behavior and so critical of the false security offered by our wishful illusions, proved unable to think clearly even as his country became unrecognizable around him and as nightmare after nightmare became real, what are our chances now?”

    Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, talks with V. V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell for the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast. Gurnah’s latest novel, Afterlives, was published this month.

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  • James Benning. Photo: Manfred Werner/Tsui/Wikimedia Commons
    August 31, 2022

    A profile of English novelist Gwendoline Riley; Blair McClendon on California and James Benning’s films

    Online at the New York Review of Books, Blair McClendon writes about California, American spectacle, and James Benning’s installations and films, which “are perhaps best categorized as landscapes.” Benning’s latest film, The United States of America, is a remake of a 1975 work, and seems to offer portraits of each state—but all the footage was shot in California. Of his home state, McClendon writes: “California is a brutal place playing at paradise. Benning looks long enough at the land to see its pretensions and its realities.” 

    The latest issue of New Left Review is now online, with Benjamin

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  • Michelle Goldberg
    August 30, 2022

    Michelle Goldberg on culture, status, and boredom; Robin D. G. Kelley on Black anti-work politics

    In the latest issue of Lux magazine, an interview with Robin D. G. Kelley about Black anti-work politics. Asked about his definition of anti-work, Kelley says, “I don’t mean resistance to work or labor per se. I mean resistance to wage labor alienation, proletarianization, and misery. Fighting the routinization of work means fighting a division of labor that isn’t our own.”  

    For Alta magazine, Jim Ruland considers Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice. Ruland writes that while the book has often been panned by critics, it offers a “skeleton key” to the elusive author’s work. He travels to the

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  • Lucy Sante
    August 29, 2022

    Lucy Sante in conversation with Sasha Frere-Jones

    The Washington Post is reviving Book World, its stand-alone book section. As the paper’s critic Ron Charles reports: “Starting Sept. 25, the Sunday paper will contain a separate broadsheet section devoted entirely to book reviews and literary features. The move coincides with the addition of new staff members, including Book World’s new editor in chief, John Williams, who starts Sept. 6.”

    The TikTok Book Club, #BookTok, will now be sponsored by Amazon

    At Jacobin, Ryan Napier reviews Michel Houellebecq’s latest, Interventions 2020, a grab bag of letters, interviews, and essays about figures

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  • Still from White Noise. Photo: Netflix.
    August 26, 2022

    White Noise movie to premiere next week; Haley Mlotek argues against August

    A trailer for Noah Bambauch’s film adaptation of Don DelIllo’s 1985 novel White Noise is out now. The Netflix movie will star Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, and Don Cheadle and will open at the Venice International Film Festival on August 31.  

    At the Paris Review Daily, Haley Mlotek curses her least favorite month: “In August I cannot think, so I cannot work. This is not not-working in a restful or decadent way. This is not-working as certain doom.” 

    For Vox, Constance Grady argues that Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster used incompetence as a defense in the antitrust trial that will

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  • Lynne Tillman. Photo: Craig Mod.
    August 25, 2022

    Lynne Tillman and Édouard Louis’s new books on mothers; Kaitlin Phillips’s PR philosophy

    In Frieze, Jennifer Kabat reviews two new memoirs: Lynne Tillman’s Mothercare and Édouard Louis’s A Woman’s Battles and Transformations. Kabat writes, “Both writers have fraught relationships with their mothers, neither of whom had a choice about being a parent, nor were they particularly good at it. The collateral damage is outlined in both narratives.”  

    The New York Times profiles writer and publicist Kaitlin Phillips. In the piece, she shares her PR philosophy: “So much of press is like, they teach you safe press. I’m incredibly into, like, edging.” For Bookforum, Phillips has written

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  • Christopher Hitchens. Photo: © Christian Witkin
    August 24, 2022

    Christian Lorentzen discusses Christopher Hitchens; Alexandra Lange’s new book on the rise and fall of the American mall

    In the latest episode of the Harper’s Magazine podcast, Christian Lorentzen discusses the evolution of critic Christopher Hitchens’s work with host Violet Lucca and guests Luke Savage and Maureen Tkacik. In the August issue of Harper’s, Lorentzen reviewed a new collection of Hitchens’s London Review of Books pieces. 

    Members of the New York Times Union have conducted a report on racial disparities in performance review scores, which affect the size of bonuses employees receive. The study, whose dataset starts from 2018, shows that “being Hispanic reduced the odds of receiving a high score by

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  • Elvia Wilk. Photo: Nina Subin
    August 23, 2022

    Elvia Wilk’s new essay collection; Lessons from the Penguin Random House antitrust trial

    The Atlantic has published Daniel Smith’s “A Recently Divorced Man Dreams Uneasily in His New Apartment,” the first of five very-short stories “displaying the virtue of lightness” that the magazine will share this month. 

    For the New Yorker, novelist and Dorothy editor Danielle Dutton writes about Ann Quin’s 1972 novel, Tripticks. The book, which Dutton describes as the author’s homage to her birth-control pills, is Quin’s “most pointedly satirical work,” taking up the techniques and mascismo of the Beats. “Yet, just as the novel is a parodic takedown of nineteen-sixties American culture that

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  • Claire-Louise Bennett. Photo: © Mark Walsh
    August 19, 2022

    Claire-Louise Bennett on Louise Bourgeois’s life and work; Rachel Syme reconsiders Nora Ephron

    For Harper’s Magazine, Claire-Louise Bennett—author of Checkout 19 and Pondmeditates on artist Louise Bourgeois: “The subject of pain is the business I am in,” she once said. It is customarily supposed that pain is a great catalyst for creativity, since pain produces an overflow of emotion that must surely galvanize artistic expression. But pain is more than and less than emotional excess. It is a grueling existential experience and is therefore one of the most difficult human situations to express.”   

    At the Paris Review Daily, staff recommend Rosmarie Waldrop’s Curves to the Apple, Bernd

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  • Tess Gunty. Photo: Lauren Alexandra Photography
    August 17, 2022

    Dayna Tortorici on the criminalization of abortion; Tess Gunty discusses her novel The Rabbit Hutch

    PEN America is hosting a reading in solidarity with Salman Rushdie on Friday morning at the New York Public Library. Reginald Dwayne Betts, Hari Kunzru, Gay Talese, Colum McCann and more will read from Rushdie’s body of work.

    The New Yorker’s Katy Waldman reflects on how top executives testifying in the Penguin Random House antitrust trial have presented their industry: “Despite their aura of idealistic adventure, publishing executives have shown themselves to be fiercely risk-averse. In a capricious market, they’ve leaned on hundred-year-old inventory instead of nourishing the books that

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  • Elaine Castillo. Photo © Elaine Castillo. 
    August 16, 2022

    Tonight: Elaine Castillo in conversation with Jane Hu; Penguin Random House CEO testifies in antitrust trial

    The New York Times reports on the testimony of Penguin Random House CEO Madeline McIntosh, who took the stand yesterday in the trial that will determine whether the publisher will be allowed to acquire Simon & Schuster. 

    At the New Yorker, read an excerpt from staff writer Hua Hsu’s new memoir Stay True, which will be published next month. In the excerpt, Hsu recalls faxing his father, who was working in Taiwan as Hsu was attending high school in California. Hsu writes that, at times, “We were like two strangers trading small talk at a hardware store.” 

    Joan Didion’s personal belongings,

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  • Amitava Kumar
    August 15, 2022

    Amitava Kumar writes an open letter to Salman Rushdie's attacker

    In the Indian Express, novelist and essayist Amitava Kumar writes an open letter to Hadi Matar, the man who has been arrested for stabbing Salman Rushdie: “Listen, you are young and I understand you will only be sitting in a room doing nothing for many, many years. I hope you will find time to read this letter. The world learned last week that you are 24. The man you tried to kill is 75. I don’t know about you but when I was 24, I was reading that man’s writings with great devotion. You might even say I was a bit fanatical in my habit.”

    Salman Rushdie has reportedly been taken off of the

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