“Weak expression Poor artistry,” reads the fictional note in red pencil on Constantine Cavafy’s sheaf of poems sent to the poet Jean Moréas in Ersi Sotiropoulos’s 2015 novel, translated by Karen Emmerich.
Claire Messud’s novel intimately considers the legacy and trauma of the pieds-noirs through the story of a family living in Marseilles, France in the 1980s and 1990s.
Lilliet Berne, the orphan turned courtesan turned opera star who serves as the protagonist of Alexander Chee’s 2016 novel, embodies the complicated interchange of power and weakness that accompanies a woman’s silence.
Stefan Zweig’s autobiography serves as a poignant warning as the world grapples with the rise of ethno-nationalism.
In Stallings’ new collection of poetry, women are immersed in what it means to be a mother, and to see oneself growing older.
Michel Houellebecq has always been a provocative writer and in fact considers himself to be a real provocateur, someone who “says things he doesn’t think, just to shock,” and who leans into that shock when he has a sense that people will hate it.
Writers, like all artists, experience things twice—once in the moment, and again when attempting to draw out the details of what has happened to bring a work to life. In the digital age, however, many experiences have been stripped of vibrancy.
In “Kaddish,” Ginsberg bears witness to his mother’s pain and struggles; he intones her name over and over again as if to deify her. It is in that painful remembrance that, during that panicked time of terrorism and political instability, I drew hope.
Writers squeeze writing in between their full-time work, even if they don’t talk about it. Journalist and TV anchor Jake Tapper did just that in writing his political thriller, which he wrote sometimes in intervals of only fifteen minutes at a time.
The tourists, travelers, and colonial police of The Sheltering Sky are mostly disaffected and unmoored Westerners who see their time in Algeria as temporary. The protagonist defines a tourist as someone who “generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months.”