In 2012, a slew of rock-star writers published disappointing novels, and a bunch of actual rock stars wrote crappy memoirs. There were some bright corners, but let’s begin with the aging rock stars. Time is not on their side.
At the recent Edinburgh Literary Festival, Zadie Smith announced that her 2005 novel On Beauty would be her last to be set in America. Henceforth, she was returning in her books to her native England. A surprising thought, at least at first. Wouldn’t it seem natural that Ms. Smith, a Greenwich Village familiar over the past several years who holds tenure at NYU and has become a mainstay in the pages of The New York Review of Books, might have adopted New York as her literary home as well? Nevertheless, in her gangly, formally ambitious new novel, NW, she has opted to make her return not just to London, but to the working-class hodgepodge of Northwest London, the subject of her 2000 novel White Teeth, as well as her childhood home.
Zadie Smith is going on leave for an “indefinite period” from writing the New Books column at Harper’s magazine, according to the AP. The author of Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry, will be writing it instead. Editor Ellen Rosenbush’s declared goal of getting more women published in the magazine seems to be on track, however.
A blow-by-blow of accusations that Turkish novelist Elif Safak has plagiarized from the Turkish translation of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth is up at The Millions. We are told by The Millions’ Turkish correspondent (!) that this is what Ms. Safak wrote in a Turkish newspaper in response to the allegations (The Millions’ translation, Read More
At The Paris Review’s Spring Revel on Monday night, April 13, at Cipriani 42nd Street, someone mentioned in passing that Philip Gourevitch, the editor of the literary magazine, is a real guy’s guy.
He does kind of resemble the actor Vince Vaughn! And he did look pretty beefy under his suit, though that might Read More
Sunday evening, the authors Zadie Smith and Andrew Sean Greer—along with their dates, Ms. Smith’s husband, Nick Laird, and Mr. Greer’s boyfriend, David Ross—gathered in a corner of the Library at the Hudson Hotel, where the Accompanied Literary Society was holding its black-tie Oscar-viewing party. Glasses of Champagne in hand, they assembled their chairs in Read More
Robert McCrum, literary editor of the UK Sunday paper The Observer, stepped down this month after a decade on the job. Yesterday he deployed a parting shot both wistful and sober-minded. "When I joined The Observer in 1996, the world of books was in limbo between hot metal and cool word processing, " he writes, Read More
On a recent Saturday night, a cocky 21-year-old college sophomore named Zaki was making time with Rory, a doe-eyed high-school senior. “I’m a fan of Eggers,” said Rory, referring to novelist Dave Eggers. He was the reason she had paid $25 to Ticketmaster and piled into a smoky nightclub in downtown Philadelphia with 500 other Read More
When transatlantic friends Zadie Smith and Dave Eggers appeared together for The New Yorker Festival at the New York Quarterly Meeting House in Stuyvesant Square last Friday, the air was buzzing with anticipation. Both best-selling authors published their first books before 30 and made serious money soon after: Mr. Eggers got a reported $2 million Read More
Being Dead , by Jim Crace. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 196 pages, $21.
The literary novelists from Britain best known in the United States can be classified by decibel level: the noisy (Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Jeanette Winterson), the somewhat less noisy (A.S. Byatt, Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes) and the blessedly quiet (Graham Swift, Kazuo Read More