Arundhati Roy has sold her second novel to Penguin Random House—almost two decades after the publication of her first novel, The God of Small Things. In the time between her two works of fiction, Roy has written numerous books of nonfiction and essays, including Capitalism: A Ghost Story and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. Her new novel,The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, hits shelves next June.
David Gutowski, the mastermind behind the excellent music-and-literature blog Largehearted Boy, has been hospitalized with a serious illness, and his friends have started an online fundraiser to help him through this medical crisis.
The fallout continues from Claudio Gatti’s article suggesting that translator Anita Raja is the author behind Elena Ferrante’s pseudonymous novels. At the New Republic, Malcolm Harris writes that Gatti’s piece was a misuse of investigative reporting techniques: “A good investigative journalist could probably prove without a shadow of a doubt that their neighbor was having an affair … but uncovering [the story] would not be correct applications of his training, even if the rest of us wanted to read the gossip.” The New Yorker also feels that Gatti’s snooping talents were misused: “If only someone had gotten him interested in Trump’s tax returns during the primaries, just think where we might be today.” The LA Times has chosen to report on Ferrante’s doxing without naming her. On Facebook, translator Susan Bernofsky writes: “please don’t post / repost that article outing Ferrante. I’d like to continue to respect her privacy by not knowing who she is. Please don’t force me to know.” Bernofsky has also mocked up t-shirts that say “Don’t tell me who Ferrante is.” Ferrante’s publisher Sandro Ferri said the author was being treated like a member of the Neapolitan mafia. The Guardian has a roundup of quotes from Ferrante highlighting her need for privacy. Deborah Orr points out the callousness of Gatti’s reveal: “Ferrante needed the support of many more people to protect her creative self. Gatti thinks he knows better than the people who know and care for the individual that Ferrante inhabits.” Many are angry with the New York Review of Books for posting Gatti’s article and Stig Abell says that the TLS would have refused to publish the piece. The Columbia Journalism Review spoke to Gatti about his decision to investigate Ferrante’s identity: “In the last year and a half, every time somebody met me [in New York], and found out I was an investigative journalist . . . they asked me only one question: who is Elena Ferrante? I really felt this is ridiculous. It can’t be that complicated to find out, so I decided to look into it.”
Meanwhile, Ferrante’s Neapolitan series will be turned into a play in London next winter.
Bronwen Dickey, the author of the new book Pit Bull, talks to The Rumpus about the racism that drove the anti-pitbull movement. When Dickey asked people about their feelings on the dog breed for her book, the answers she received were often filled with underlying racism. “So many people would say … ‘Those people want them to be macho,’ ‘those people get them and just abandon them,’ ‘those people get them because they want to intimidate other people,’” said Dickey. “The tendency to justify things like bans that are not based in science sometimes causes people to scramble for this other rhetoric that’s really ugly and unfortunate.”
At the Paris Review Daily, Evan Kindley and Joanna Neborsky discuss their new books about questionnaires. Kindley’s volume traces the history of the form, while Neborsky’s is an illustrated edition of the “Proust questionnaire.” The two authors ask each other questions from Proust’s famous list of queries, which, it turns out, actually had very little to do with the author: As Kindley notes, Proust didn’t create or promote the quiz (though he did fill one out as a teenager).