Etger Keret’s new book, The Seven Good Years, is a collection of personal essays about life in Israel, but there are currently no plans to publish it in Hebrew, or in his home country. Keret—whose previous work has consisted mostly of short, whimsical, and surreal fiction—recently told the Guardian that he wrote the book for people outside the country. He explains: “If I talk about going to a maternity ward with my wife and all the medics are with people from a bombing, for an Israeli person that is so normal that it hardly merits any attention.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates lists the ten books he couldn’t live without. Among them is C.V. Wedgwood’s The Thirty Years War. Says Coates: “God, I love this book. It’s the history of an utterly depressing war with no real nobility that ultimately descends into cannibalism. Right up my alley.”
Yan Lianke is China’s most censored fiction writer. Some are calling his latest novel, The Four Books—which is set during Mao’s attempts to transform the country from an agrarian model to a socialist one—his “riskiest book yet.”
Jason McBride recounts the death of novelist Kathy Acker in 1997. Acker, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, had refused chemotherapy, and for a long time had refused to see a doctor. As her health declined, she sought treatment in an experimental health clinic in Mexico. She was, as the article points out, “as uncompromising in death as she was in life.”
A number of writers contributed to New York Magazine’s “How to Be Alone” story, among them Darin Strauss (who writes about Film Forum), Eileen Myles (the Staten Island Ferry), Vivian Gornick (Walking), James Hannaham (Coney Island), and Joshua Cohen (libraries).
A debate between the New York Times and the New York Review of Books has been escalating over the past week. After Richard Bernstein criticized the Times’s recent expose of labor exploitation at nail salons, the Times issued a rebuttal. And now the NYRB has responded to the rebuttal.
From the archives: Rachel Kushner’s 2012 essay about Clarice Lispector.