171 posts tagged with novel.
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"I do not tell plane stories; I tell stereoscopic stories"

The Mysterious Frontiers of Can Xue - 'The author, whom the American novelist and editor Bradford Morrow has described as one of the most “innovative and important” in contemporary world literature, revels in such mysteries and entanglements. Can Xue is the genderless pen name of Deng Xiaohua, who was born in 1953, in Changsha City, in Hunan Province. In Chinese, the name means “residual snow,” a phrase, Deng has explained, that is used to describe both “the dirty snow that refuses to melt” and “the purest snow at the top of a high mountain.” [more inside]
posted by TheGoodBlood on Nov 12, 2017 - 6 comments

Welcome to the Literature Club!

It's October, month of horror! Unrelatedly, Doki Doki Literature Club! (steam) is a cute (and free) Visual Novel, roughly 2-4 hours long, where you can join a Literature Club, write poetry and make new friends! Some tips: it's much better played blind, it has a somewhat slow start, and it's not over until you've seen the credits. Oh, and it's definitely not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.
posted by Memo on Oct 21, 2017 - 15 comments

"We need the novel because paradise is always a lie"

the novel matters because it's fiction, and fiction, like truth, profoundly matters to the human species. In the age of Trump, when truth is so blatantly revealed as something dismissible, somehow simply no longer relevant, the novel matters even more, because to some extent we all live by fictions, we have all along survived by using them.
The novel in the age of Trump by Ali Smith.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 18, 2017 - 14 comments

"Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated!"

The Internet Archive today announced that, thanks to "a little known, and perhaps never used, provision of US copyright law," they're now able to offer many books published from 1923 to 1941: the Sonny Bono Memorial Collection. Among the 67 texts currently available, two are famous portrayals of American social life: the U.S.A. trilogy by John Dos Passos (including 1919, selected by Robert McCrum as #58 in The Guardian's 100 Best Novels) and Middletown: A Study in American Culture by Robert and Helen Lynd (a controversial and influential ethnographic study of Muncie, IN, referenced over 100 times in the Indiana Magazine of History). [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Oct 10, 2017 - 17 comments

Some 19th Century perspectives on (mostly) 19th Century literature

Reviews of Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Moby-Dick, Huckleberry Finn, and Dracula show the sometimes surprising reactions of 19th C. readers to 19th C. literature in English. In a letter from 1888, Nietzsche points toward the sometimes surprising coverage of another source, suggesting that The Main Developments in Literature during the Nineteenth Century by the Danish critic Georg Brandes "is still today the best Kulturbuch in German on this big subject": v. 1; v. 2; v. 3; v. 4; v. 5; v. 6. [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Sep 16, 2017 - 24 comments

“In the right context you can make words do all kinds of things.”

The Last Days of New Paris is China Miéville’s novella about a surrealist Paris magically overlapping with our realist Paris.
At the back of the book, Miéville offers endnote citations of the surrealist art that inspired his writing. I corralled all the art in this post.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 25, 2017 - 26 comments

Mechanics of Choice

In Atlas Obscura, author Jay Leibold explains how he mapped the plots of his Choose Your Own Adventure Books.
posted by Miko on Jul 7, 2017 - 4 comments

“any author could end up inside of a Pan cover—”

The Strange Allure of Pan Books: Vintage Cult Film, TV Tie-In and Fab Fiction Book Covers [Dangerous Minds] “Everyone knows Penguin. They publish classic lit and high-end middle-class novels about those things people discuss over lattes. Pan books [wiki] were thrillers, pulp novels, movie and TV tie-ins, romances, some classics (Bronte, Trollope, Dickens), and best of all the dare to read alone horrors. Everyone read Pan. Because Pan books were always a guaranteed great read. [...] Pan Books was started by a former World War One flying ace, Alan Bott [wiki] in 1944. Bott believed in enjoyable reads available for all. He focussed on paperback books the public would enjoy which might bring them back to the brand for more.”
posted by Fizz on Jun 14, 2017 - 19 comments

“...the way in which violence begets further acts of violence.”

How I Rewrote a Greek Tragedy by Colm Tóibín [The Guardian] “In my book, I thought I needed to find a tone of pure certainty for Clytemnestra, a tone of voice that took no prisoners and spared no one, a tone filled with relentlessness and ferocity. I sought to find a voice for someone who had suffered loss and humiliation, and who was ready, in retaliation, to do her worst and take pleasure in the consequences. When I began to study closely a late play by Euripides called Iphigenia in Aulis, however, I began to see Clytemnestra as more complex, her wounded voice as more needy and uncertain.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 29, 2017 - 10 comments

Happy Birthday, Madame Bovary

10 Debut Novels That Are Also Their Authors’ Masterpieces
posted by infini on Apr 17, 2017 - 26 comments

Something about dark lords, with rhyming couplets

When Tolkein helped create the modern fantasy genre, he also re-introduced a key fantasy trope, the prophetic poem that is key to the plot of the novel. Whether elegantly written (as in Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising poem or Clarke's Prophecy of John Uskglass) or rather awkwardly accumulated (as in the Wheel of Time's Karaethon Cycle), the prophetic verse is often a tired trope, but one which a variety of fantasy novels have used to good effect.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 5, 2017 - 83 comments

OMG Kitties

Naomi Kritzer's Hugo Award winning short story of AI and cats, "Cat Pictures Please", is to become a YA novel.
posted by Artw on Feb 28, 2017 - 20 comments

Leaves of Crass

"Readers who picked up The New York Times on March 13, 1852, might have seen a small advertisement on Page 3 for a serial tale set to begin the next day in a rival newspaper. “A RICH REVELATION,” the ad began, teasing a rollicking tale touching on “the Manners and Morals of Boarding Houses, some Scenes from Church History, Operations in Wall-st.,” and “graphic Sketches of Men and Women” (presented, fear not, with “explanations necessary to properly understand what it is all about”). It was a less than tantalizing brew, perhaps. The story, which was never reviewed or reprinted, appears to have sunk like a stone. But now comes another rich revelation: The anonymously published tale was nothing less than a complete novel by Walt Whitman.
Grad student Zachary Turpin discovers a long lost Walt Whitman novel, about a year after he discovered a long lost Whitman self-help treatie. [more inside]
posted by Stanczyk on Feb 20, 2017 - 29 comments

The Twentieth Day of January

Now, I never paid any attention to this. I had no interest in reading an obscure spy novel just because Trump liked it. But then over Christmas after the election, I was visiting family in Bozeman, Montana. And there it was, in a used bookstore: The Twentieth Day of January. THEORY OF EVERYTHING: And? Is it good? “JOSH GLENN”: No, it’s terrible. The plot is ridiculous. [more inside]
posted by cgc373 on Jan 20, 2017 - 73 comments

"Well, maybe I can make a mansion out of a series of linked yurts"

The audiobook for George Saunders’s debut novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, will be narrated by Nick Offerman, Julianne Moore, Miranda July, Ben Stiller, Don Cheadle, Keegan Michael Key, David Sedaris, Susan Sarandon, Carrie Brownstein, a dozen other A-listers, top audiobook narrators, the author’s close friends and family, volunteers from Random House, and the author himself to form a 166 voice American chorale.

Penguin Random House Audio is applying for a Guinness World Record. Listen to a clip here. [more inside]
posted by little onion on Jan 19, 2017 - 13 comments

Going West, where books come to life.

Going West is a short stop-motion film by Anderson M Studios for the New Zealand Book Council. Based on Maurice Gee's novel of the same name, it uses paper cut from the actual book to highlight an excerpt in stunning detail.
posted by Room 641-A on Nov 26, 2016 - 4 comments

You're going to hear some serious @#$%...

Audiobooks for the Damned (main site, previously) have been forging ahead in their quest to audiobook-ify film novelizations, and have finally released one of their holy grails - a seven-hour audiobook of George Gipe's legendarily insane novelization of Back to the Future Part I, as chronicled in Ryan North's B to the F (read it chronologically here, also previously). [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ on Sep 20, 2016 - 23 comments

“I love writing on the hoof, in notebooks on walks, in trains and cafés”

le Carré on le Carré [The Guardian] The many lives of John le Carré, in his own words. An exclusive extract from his new memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel. Portraits by Nadav Kander. [Previously.] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 4, 2016 - 24 comments

"Hidden literary gems"

Writing for the BBC, Lucy Scholes lists "Ten 'Lost' Books You Should Read Now," starting with Teffi's Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea. An excerpt from Memories appeared in The New Yorker in 2014, and a recent article there provided additional background for that book as well as the collection of which the essay "My Dinner with Rasputin" is a part. [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 23, 2016 - 11 comments

Radio discussion with Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

Drawing upon his own experience as a refugee of that war who later settled in the United States, Nguyen tells the program host Michael Krasny: "I knew that in writing a novel about a communist spy that the easiest way for me to write this book would be for the spy to renounce communism and embrace American individualism. This is how one gets published in the American literary industry, and I refused to do that." [more inside]
posted by wallawallasweet on May 7, 2016 - 7 comments

MFA novels prefer names like Ruth, Pete, Bobby, Charlotte, and Pearl

How Has the MFA Changed the Contemporary Novel? We wrote a program to analyze hundreds of works by authors with and without creative-writing degrees. The results were disappointing. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Apr 11, 2016 - 27 comments

Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera

SF author (and Mefi's own) Charles Stross is thinking about the cliches in Space Opera and tries to put together a complete list of the hoary genre tropes that literary (no TV or movies) Space Opera is prone to.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 5, 2016 - 85 comments

What can change the nature of a man?

Often considered to have the best writing of any game, 1999's Planescape Torment (as can be seen in this short video) is getting a spiritual successor. Torment: Tides of Numenera, now in early beta (the first 30 minutes of which can be seen in this Let's Play), features many of the same writers (plus other favorites). To see what made the first game so great, fans have turned the original Planescape game into surprisingly readable novels. One version just contains mostly the dialogue for one particular path through the game with just a little linking text (457 pages worth), the other features an expanded version with more original material (1,219 pages). Both are available in a variety of formats, and you can buy the original game as well.
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 1, 2016 - 53 comments

Marriage is like money – seem to want it, and you’ll never get it

'Silver Fork' or Fashionable Novels are the largely forgotten English popular novels of the 1820s and 30s which depicted aristocratic life and scandals as a how-to guide for rising middle-class readers while also exploring growing political and class anxieties in the post-Regency. Advice on how to romance, eat, party and raise children like a member of the upper class from Silver Fork novels via Bizarre Victoria (previously).
posted by The Whelk on Jan 15, 2016 - 7 comments

Themed Guides to Translated Literature in 2015

Chad W. Post at Three Percent recently linked to World Literature Today's 75 Notable Translations of 2015 and went on a list-making tear to provide more structure and commentary: 7 books by women, 6 water-cooler fiction books, 6 university press books, 3 'funny' books, 4 books from underrepresented countries, and the best poetry I should read. The commentary often leads to further matters of interest, e.g. the Women in Translation Tumblr or Marianne Fritz and the translation challenges (scroll down) in her work.
posted by Wobbuffet on Dec 31, 2015 - 7 comments

And now, a departure from "Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf"

The "SyFy" network has released the first episode of their space noir television adaptation of James S. A. Corey's The Expanse novels on YouTube: "Dulcinea." (region-restricted to US viewers only -- contains a scene that may be NSFW) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 2, 2015 - 79 comments

“...the novella is not an immature or effeminate novel.”

The Novella Is Not The Novel’s Daughter: An Argument in Notes by Lindsey Drager [Michigan Quarterly Review] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 10, 2015 - 37 comments

“Poetry makes life what lights and music do the stage.”

A serial novel written in real time by Joshua Cohen, with illustrations by Leon Chang.
PCKWCK is a reinterpretation of Charles Dickens' first serial novel, The Pickwick Papers. That's about all we know so far, because it hasn't been written yet. Beginning Monday, October 12th at 1pm EST, Joshua Cohen will write PCKWCK over five days in front of the entire internet. Every day from 1pm-6pm EST visitors to www.PCKWCK.com will be able to watch Cohen write in real time, offer feedback that may affect the outcome of the novel, and talk with Cohen and other readers in a chat room.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Oct 12, 2015 - 15 comments

Dear Friends

A contemporary fictional account of promoting contemporary fiction.
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 8, 2015 - 4 comments

Beware the novelist . . . intimate and indiscreet

Morrissey’s debut novel List of the Lost is published today. The author has explained that “The theme is demonology … the left-handed path of black magic. It is about a sports relay team in 1970s America who accidentally kill a wretch who, in esoteric language, might be known as a Fetch … a discarnate entity in physical form.” The initial reviews have not been kind: “an unpolished turd of a book” reckons Michael Hann at The Guardian; “a bizarre misogynistic ramble” opines Nico Hines of The Daily Beast. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Sep 24, 2015 - 101 comments

"and yet, the representations of the sexy little girl abound"

the "lolita" covers. Tubmlr user gowns (reposted by Hark! A Vagrant's Kate Beaton) examines the subject matter, history, and implications of official book covers for Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 Lolita. (some NSFW book images) [more inside]
posted by Kybard on Sep 17, 2015 - 58 comments

“producing much fruit, or foliage, or many offspring”

Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? by Stephen King [New York Times] [Op-Ed]
“No one in his or her right mind would argue that quantity guarantees quality, but to suggest that quantity never produces quality strikes me as snobbish, inane and demonstrably untrue.”
posted by Fizz on Aug 28, 2015 - 112 comments

July in Osaka

You’ve decided on a life of letters. You’ve got that manuscript you workshopped getting your MFA, an agent, and a publisher. Congratulations! You’re well on your way to being a critical darling. Now all you need is a catchy title. Lucky for you, this handy guide will help you title your book, and every book you write in your illustrious career. Janet Potter (previously) at The Millions (previously)
posted by davidjmcgee on Aug 17, 2015 - 85 comments

Dreams of Tipu Sultan

One of the most intriguing items in the British Library Persian manuscripts collection is a small unexceptional looking volume which contains a personal record, written in his own hand, of 37 dreams of Tipu Sultan, Sultan of Mysore (r. 1782-1799). [Complete translation.]
A figure of continuing interest, Tipu Sultan's depiction in a 2014 parade float was the subject of a minor controversy, revisited expansively this year in a TV news report. A video history lesson for children offers a brief portrait of the ruler, sometimes remembered for his use of rockets against the British and his anti-British mechanical pipe organ (examined carefully here, but here used to play two tunes, including "Rule, Britannia!"). [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jun 14, 2015 - 15 comments

best books you can read in under an hour each

"For those who love books, but don’t have enough time for reading. Here are the best books you can read in under an hour each." 24 books to read in under an hour (infographic) by Piotr Kowalczyk at Ebook Friendly. (via Electric Literature) Previously: What to read when pressed for time
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on May 24, 2015 - 40 comments

"The knives of jealousy are honed on details."

Ruth Rendell, crime writer, dies aged 85. [The Guardian]
Ruth Rendell, one of Britain’s best-loved authors, who delighted fans for decades with her dark, intricately plotted crime novels, has died at the age of 85, her publisher has announced.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on May 4, 2015 - 24 comments

"The creative process ... was slightly disastrous."

The Whole Family [(1908; Wikipedia)] is a bit of an oddity - a 'shared-world' by twelve prominent authors, each focusing on an individual member of an extended New England upper class family. William Dean Howells sets up the framework in the opening chapter ... [I]n the second story, Mary Wilkins Freeman overturns the whole table with a wonderfully feminist reinterpretation of a secondary character. The rest of the book is a scramble to put the apples back in the cart ...
In "5 Goodies from Gutenberg," Jared Shurin revisits a round-robin novel he reviewed in more detail last summer at Pornokitsch, but it's not the only classic collaborative fiction available online. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on May 2, 2015 - 5 comments

“Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?”

What are the most disturbing novels? [The Guardian] [Books] Guardian Books discusses disturbing reads:
"Bret Easton Ellis has haunted some of our readers for days, and on the books desk we’re still getting over certain depictions of dangerous obsessions and hellish orgies. Which fiction has most unnerved you?"
posted by Fizz on Apr 10, 2015 - 220 comments

Welcome to Hope's Peak Academy

Originally released on the PSP system in 2010 the first Danganronpa game called Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ( (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生) developed and produced by Spike Chunsoft . It featured a classic whodunit game where the MC (Makoto Naegi) a Japanese teenger found himself stuck in a strange high school setting with a unique cast. [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit on Mar 4, 2015 - 7 comments

An Answer to the Novel’s Detractors

"The world exists. Why recreate it?" Adelle Waldman explains why.
posted by shivohum on Feb 21, 2015 - 28 comments

"John Williams’s resurrection from the boneyard of obscurity"

In 2010 Alan Prendergast wrote a long article about the life of novelist John Williams and how he was beginning, at long last, to find a sizable audience. How true that turned out to be, as Williams' 1965 novel Stoner subsequently became a bestseller all over Europe, first in French translation, but later elsewhere in Europe, and it has begun to get glowing notices in his native US. Williams is not around to enjoy the success, as he passed away in 1994. Now another of his novels, Augustus, has also begun its rise from obscurity. The New York Review of Books republished it last year on the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of the first Roman Emperor's death. On the NYRB website you can read Daniel Mendelsohn's fine introduction to the book.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 20, 2015 - 15 comments

Go obscure, out-of-print, feminist, progressive, female authors!!! Woot!

Drinking My Way Through the Literary 1930's : "The backbone of this blog is the amazing and unfortunately out-of-print book, So Red the Nose. To this 1935, somewhat tongue-in-cheek recipe book, thirty bestselling contemporary authors submitted original cocktails, based around their own original works ... My mission, then, is to recreate 29 of these cocktails ... and combine them with their namesakes, ... discovering which books are classics tragically forgotten and which are better left to collect dust in library basements." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Feb 14, 2015 - 11 comments

My Book, The Movie

They would ask me what actors I saw in the roles. I would tell them, and they’d say “Oh that’s interesting.” And that would be the end of it. --Elmore Leonard, in 2000, on the extent of his input for Hollywood's adaptation of his novels
For authorial input on film adaptation, try My Book The Movie, by Marshall Zeringue, also of The Campaign for the American Reader, the page 69 test (previously), and the page 99 test. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 29, 2014 - 6 comments

“If you can read you can cook. You can always feed yourselves..."

Kent Haruf, ‘a great writer and a great man’, dies aged 71 [The Guardian]
"Pan Macmillan, Haruf’s UK publisher, said that the novelist died on Sunday 30 November, praising his “beautifully restrained, profoundly felt novels” which it said “reflected a man of integrity, honesty and deep thoughtfulness”."
posted by Fizz on Dec 2, 2014 - 5 comments

"Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel!"

The Chapter: A History
posted by a fair but frozen maid on Nov 1, 2014 - 3 comments

When Science Fiction Grew Up

How renegade sci-fi writers of the 1960s paved the way for today's blending of literary and genre fiction [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 15, 2014 - 34 comments

"distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car"

"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.

Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
[more inside] posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 20, 2014 - 29 comments

"The road to Manderley lay ahead. There was no moon."

"The du Maurier sisters had, from their volatile, crowded childhood onward, formed this private country they could slip in and out of, where "menaces" and "Venetian tendencies" could be freely discussed. In other words, they found a way to use games of pretend to tell the absolute truth." - Carrie Frye on author Daphne du Maurier and her seminal gothic novel, Rebecca.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 19, 2014 - 13 comments

"'The family division is rooted in the same ground as fiction..."

Ian McEwan: the law versus religious belief. [The Guardian]
The conjoined twins who would die without medical intervention, a boy who refused blood transfusions on religious grounds…Ian McEwan on the stories from the family courts that inspired his latest novel.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Sep 13, 2014 - 10 comments

Stirlitz had a thought. He liked it, so he had another one.

A Soviet take on Rambo (brief clip; Rutube) is "unique in its violence and anti-Americanism." A Russian point of view on James Bond remarks that "so widespread was the interest in Bond that an official Soviet spy serial ... was released." But the spy novel / miniseries Seventeen Moments of Spring (somewhat digestible in 17 highlights with commentary: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17) is for interesting reasons not a Soviet counterpart to James Bond or Rambo. See also Seventeen Moments fanfic, two pages of jokes about its hero, and how he figures in the present. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Aug 16, 2014 - 9 comments

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