authors

Getting Lost in the World of Edwidge Danticat

Kaitlyn Fajilan

In August, renowned Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat released her latest novel, Claire of the Sea Light, after a nearly decade long hiatus. Told through the eyes of several residents of a fictional seaside town called Ville Rose, the story jumps back and forth between the years 1999 and 2009, right before the chaos of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In it, Danticat offers a multiplicity of voices that interweave with one another to construct a tale about community and the bonds that hold in the midst of political corruption, environmental degradation, poverty, and death. 

Love and Mayhem Take up Residence in ‘Men in Miami Hotels’

Lee Polevoi

In Smith’s novel, a character’s wig, “like an orange egret nest, sat puffed and glistening on the table.” A “tiny, ambidextrous breeze” floats down an alley. In Albertson’s headquarters we find “the factotums and skill men and hangers-on, the rumble boys and the slack, ruined characters kept around by Albertson to remind him of worlds and episodes most men would want to forget.” Cot “sits in the shade looking out at the ocean, a bleak expression on his face like that of a man marooned on an island nobody will discover for years.”

Crisscrossing the Pond in Colum McCann’s ‘TransAtlantic’

Lee Polevoi

Fictional characters that appear fleetingly in these early sections rise to prominence later in TransAtlantic. From the 19th century to nearly the present day, McCann brilliantly draws us into the lives of several generations of women: Lily Duggan, a penniless maid in Webb’s Dublin household who immigrates to America; her daughter Emily, a journalist, who reports on Brown and Alcock’s historic flight; Emily’s daughter, Lottie, who suffers a mother’s loss during the Troubles and later exhorts Sen. Mitchell to end the violence. These characters’ lives are deftly intertwined, adding considerable texture to a story that otherwise threatens to be sprawling and diffuse.

Visiting the Arts Through the Lens of Janet Malcolm’s ‘41 False Starts’

Lee Polevoi

Forty-One False Starts is a collection of essays by veteran New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm. The collection spans more than two decades, ranging from profiles of the painter David Salle and German art photographer Thomas Struth to reflections on the cult of Bloomsbury and J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. Throughout the book, Malcolm displays the keen intelligence and deft turn of phrase that have exemplified her work for 40 years.

Literary Flashback: Reading Miranda July’s ‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’

Kimberly Tolleson

Though the protagonists are often sad, the book itself is not; on the contrary, it is lovely and life-affirming. The characters in No One Belongs Here More Than You are so uncomfortably human and delightfully flawed, that whether the reader ultimately decides to embrace or reject them, he or she will undoubtedly be affected by their stories. In this way, July’s characters do make the human connection which they seek so eagerly.

A Writer’s Rage: Reading Claire Messud’s ‘The Woman Upstairs’

Kara Krauze

The Woman Upstairs is a novel about female experience and about the coexistence of power and powerlessness, metastasized through the tight prism of Nora’s friendship with Sirena (and her husband and son) while sharing an artist’s studio for the year, at Sirena’s behest. Nora and Sirena might almost be one woman, two parts of one female being, living in a world (our world) rife with contradictions and fraught with self-betrayal. 

Auster-Coetzee Letters Shed Light on Literary Friendship

Lee Polevoi

Here and Now is a collection of letters between the Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and the American novelist Paul Auster. The correspondence began in 2008 when Coetzee, author of the Booker-prizewinning masterpiece, Disgrace, sent a letter to Auster, author of The New York Trilogy, suggesting that an exchange of letters “might be fun, and we might even, God willing, strike sparks off each other.”

How Wikipedia Fell into the Gender Gap

Sandip Roy

But Wikipedia’s women problem is different. It’s not about the clumsiness of describing Kamala Harris as California’s first female African-American Indian-American attorney general. Like much of the online world Wikipedia has a gender gap. But as it has become the default go-to site for information, its gender gap is showing in embarrassing ways. In 2011, Noam Cohen wrote in The New York Times that the contributor base was barely 13 percent women. That means there’s gender bias that shows up in the very act of deciding what topic is worthy of meriting a wiki entry and how long it is.

Walter Mosley, Countee Cullen To Be Inducted into N.Y. Writers Hall of Fame

Frederick H. Lowe

The New York  State Writers Hall of Fame will honor Walter Mosley and Countee Cullen as part of the organization's 2013 induction of eight living or deceased writers, Rocco Staino, director of the Empire State Center for the Book, which sponsors the event, tells The NorthStar News & Analysis. Mosley will be inducted into the hall fame with three living writers, including Marilyn Hacker, Alice McDermott and Calvin Trillin. Cullen, who died in 1946, will be inducted with three deceased writers.

How Electronic Publishing Democratized Authorship and Paved the Way for New Reading Habits

Gerry LaFemina

For Pietsch, and many others, the book is not going the way of the record. Shoppers could rarely listen to records before they bought them in a record store, but they can thumb through a book.  Still today book purchases are often impulse buys; therefore, people still buy traditional books. Some evidence seems to support this position.  A recent Publishers Weekly article notes that Diamond Book Distributors reported double digit gains in 2012.  Simon & Schuster reported a bump in sales in 2012.

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