Brian Evenson’s new novella, The Warren, opens with a declaration of documentation:
I shall begin this written record by reporting the substance of our last conversation—which was not only the last conversation I had with Horak but the last I had with anyone or ever expect to have.
The most unusual word of the sentence, “substance,” is the tenth word out of twenty-six, and it comes right after the second most unusual word in the sentence, “reporting.” The sixteen words that follow “substance,” excluding a character name, are some of the most frequently used words in the English language. Most of them are widely used in primary school. In terms of density, the first ten words account for almost half of the letters in the sentence. The sentence is top-heavy—unbalanced.
Should 2016 be forgot and never brought to mind…
There are, no doubt, a few people who love Donald Trump, hate music, don’t like zoo animals and despise beloved actors and actresses. For the rest of us, 2016 was terrible.
This calls for distractions. We asked Fiction Advocate contributors to tell us which books they read this year that helped them forget, even for fleeting moments, that David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gwen Ifill, Prince, and America — UPDATE: and George Michael and Carrie Fisher and her mom, Debbie Reynolds — died over the last 12 months.
In what may be the only happy coincidence of the year, the vast majority of the recommendations below come from a few people who have some of the most important things to say about 2016: Continue reading
1. Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot
This big, beautiful, illustrated hardcover offers profiles and portraits of pioneering women in sports history. Based on the Instagram account @TheUnsungHeroes, Game Changers is a dramatic record of people who shattered their glass ceilings.
2. Carry This Book by Abbi Jacobson
One of the stars of Broad City has a secret talent: drawing the imaginary contents of famous people’s personal bags. Ever wondered what Oprah carries in her purse? Abbi has some ideas. Continue reading
“We will live!”—the last line, italics and all, of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer—is a full-throated cry for the world’s 100 million Vietnamese people, who are still largely unheard more than forty years after the end of their catastrophic war. With his new non-fiction essay collection, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, Nguyen expands and elevates the Vietnamese experience to challenge the economic and political order of the world (yes, the world) and the U.S. “war machine” that he believes maintains it.
That machine encompasses not only American government and weapons makers but also their “ministry of misinformation,” Hollywood. Racist, mostly white-controlled American corporations and the people who work for them also benefit and thus perpetuate the structure. “We are all implicated, not just soldiers but a lot of people in suits and dresses,” Nguyen says in an interview.
When it comes to the awarding of something so prestigious as the Nobel Prize for Literature, there is no better source of commentary and reaction than Twitter. Here are the hottest takes on the hottest award of the year:
There was lots of speculation on who might win this year. Dylan was a longshot, to say the least. As one of the most comprehensive analyses of the field put it, “Bob Dylan 100 percent is not going to win. Stop saying Bob Dylan should win the Nobel Prize.”
But the answer my friend, came in from Sweden. The answer came in from Sweden:
Dylan was recognized for “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Some speculated on other contenders: Continue reading