"Great war novels inevitably follow great wars
, and in literary circles following World War II, everyone was wondering what would be the successors to A Farewell to Arms
and All Quiet on the Western Front
— and who would write them. But when John Horne Burns, age 29, in his small dormitory suite at the Loomis School in Windsor, Conn., on the night of April 23, 1946 (Shakespeare’s birthday, at that), finished The Gallery
— 'I fell across my Underwood and wept my heart out,' he later recalled — he was convinced he had done just that, and more. ‘The Gallery
, I fear, is one of the masterpieces of the 20th century,' he wrote a friend." (SLNYT) (via
) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Jun 17, 2013 -
Nina Bawden, writer of novels for adults and children, born in 1925, died on 22nd August 2012. “As a child, Nina said, she had felt wicked because the children in the books she read were all so good, and she was one of the first writers for children to create characters who could be jealous, selfish and bad-tempered” (Guardian obituary
). [more inside]
posted by paduasoy
on Aug 27, 2012 -
An American writer hasn't won the Nobel Prize for Literature since 1993 (Toni Morrison). Slate's Alexander Nazaryan tells us why
: "The rising generation of writers behind Oates, Roth and DeLillo are dominated by Great Male Narcissists — even the writers who aren’t male (or white)."
posted by bardic
on Oct 4, 2011 -
Listen to a conversation between
legendary American crime novelist Raymond Chandler and James Bond inventor Ian Fleming recorded by the BBC in 1958. The talk ranges from Mafia hits to the nature of villainy to the difference between English and American thriller.
posted by Bookhouse
on Jun 12, 2011 -
PICTURE THIS: A folksy, self-consciously plainspoken Southern politician rises to power during a period of profound unrest in America. The nation is facing one of the half-dozen or so of its worst existential crises to date, and the people, once sunny, confident, and striving, are now scared, angry, and disillusioned. Through a combination of factors -his easy bearing chief among them (along with massive cash donations from Big Business; disorganization in the liberal opposition; a stuffy, aloof opponent; and support from religious fanatics who feel they've been unfairly marginalized)-he wins the presidential election.
Ripped from today's headlines? Nope. Sinclair Lewis
, Circa 1935: "It Can't Happen Here"
has been recently reissued
. But you can read it here (with free registration)
at American Buddha
(possibly NSFW). first link via Arts & Letters Daily
posted by spock
on Dec 28, 2005 -
John B Spencer
died in March. He was 57 though the first time I saw him in about 1986 he looked about 86 so his early demise isn't that much of a surprise.
No one will have heard of him but he was brilliant. Truly brilliant, in that he lit up all around him and inspired the pathetic likes of me. Read his lyrics, hear his albums and just sit and wonder at the genius of the public to ignore such talent. Sorry, my blog doesn't appear to be publishing and I didn't want his death to go unremarked.
Google doesn't offer much but this is good enough.
posted by Fat Buddha
on Jul 12, 2002 -
Envy of the Literary World, or another Trust-Fund Novelist?
Following up on the discussion of J.T. LeRoy a few weeks ago, here's a story from the Observer about Nick McDonell, who's 18, just out of high school and about to publish a major novel (you may have read about him in the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" section). The catch is, his dad edits SI, his publisher is his godfather, and Hunter S. Thompson, who plugs the book, is a family friend. The book's not out yet, so the quality question is moot at this point. But still ... what gives with all this ridiculously young writers these days?
posted by risenc
on Jun 19, 2002 -
The Latest Salvo From Gore Vidal, The Last Of The Great Wits:
He's a tremendous snob, infuriatingly opinionated and sets out to upset all and sundry, left, right and centre. But Gore Vidal
is still the meanest, fastest wit in the West. Harry Kloman
runs a magnificent fan site
, bursting with goodies and verbal violence which is an education in itself. Or, for a contrarian view, check out rival wit John Simon's demolition job
. But come on - can anyone
compete with the Master? Christopher Hitchens? Fran Lebowitz? James Woolcott? Clive James? I think not.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Apr 24, 2002 -
may be one of the best novelists working today, yet not that many folks know his name. His books
and short stories
portray prosaic suburbia accurately and without condescension, and he has uncanny insight into the mind of the terminally adolescent. Not to mention an uproarious sense of humor. If the films of Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater, the music of Weezer, or Pete Bagge's
comics resonate with you, you may want to check out their literary equivalent. As an added treat, here's an audio
link of Perrota reading his work. For my money, this guy is one of our best American writers right now, although you wouldn't know it.
posted by jonmc
on Mar 2, 2002 -