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Nathan Ihara

Credit: ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE T. WEBSTER

The Tyranny of the New

Click here for Nathan Ihara's list of perfectly aged summer reading. Last month much ink was spilled (and pixels burnt) on Bill Clegg's Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man. It's a blow-by-blow memoir about his monthlong crack bender in 2005 that temporarily cost him his job as a......

Out With the New, In With the Old

Click here for Nathan Ihara's feature The Tyranny of the New. After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (1931) by Jean RhysIf your bedroom has ever felt too small, your wine too cheap, your face too old, your family as strangers, and your love affairs mere figments of your imagination, then Jean Rhys'......
James Wood; Credit: Illustration by Kyle T. Webster

How Fiction Works: King James and the Battle for the Novel

There’s a YouTube video of the literary critic James Wood in his kitchen, drumming merrily on the tabletop, a coffee mug, and a plastic bucket of chocolates while his young daughter squeals in delight. He’s in a rumpled sweater, a fringe of hair hovers above his bright, balding head, and......
Hans Fallada: Little man

The Human Comedy: Reintroducing Hans Fallada

Rudolph Ditzen took the pen name Hans Fallada in 1913 to protect his family — his father was a respected judge — from embarrassment at his first angst-ridden novel. He took “Hans” from the folktale of “Lucky Hans,” the story of a foolish farmer who barters away all his possessions,......

Marilynne Robinson's Home: Making Light of Life

Marilynne Robinson is a genius of exegesis. There’s a rare quality of contemplation in her writing, an intensity of speculation concerning both Biblical and secular phenomena that seems lacking in many contemporary novels and, I dare say, in much religious thinking as well. A gross generalization perhaps, but novels seem......
Credit: Lynn Davis

The Drop Edge of Yonder: Rudy Wurlitzer Rides Nowhere Again

It’s hard to figure out if Rudolph “Rudy” Wurlitzer’s new novel, The Drop Edge of Yonder, is newfangled or old hat, a relic or a revolution. In many ways, it feels like it’s being published 40 years too late. Living large and free in the Wild West, altering one’s consciousness......

The Brief, Wondrous Tournament of Books

An alternate reality: A shortlist of presidential candidates is released to the public. How was it generated? What does it mean? No one knows. Time passes, and it’s now November 2008, and the grand announcement is made: Dennis Kucinich is the new president of the United States. Some are overjoyed,......
Credit: Ralph Gibson

Richard Price on Cynicism, The Wire and his Lush Life

Richard Price grew up in the Bronx projects when they were a completely different animal: racially diverse, Jews, Italians, blacks working and living mostly in peace, everyone expecting the next generation to move on, move up, move out. In 1974, still in his early 20s, Price published The Wanderers, a......
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