March 20, 2017

Robert Silvers, the editor of the New York Review of Books, died this morning at the age of eighty-seven. Silvers was a founding editor of the Review and had been its sole editor since the death of the magazine’s cofounder, Barbara Epstein, in 2006. The tributes began pouring in on Twitter almost immediately, despite the fact that Silvers tended to shy away from praise: Even as one of the most eminent and admired editors in the literary world, he avoided the spotlight. As he told an interviewer in 2008: “The editor is a middleman. The one thing he should avoid is taking credit. It’s the writer that counts.”

Jimmy Breslin

Jimmy Breslin—the legendary New York City columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, bestselling author, and failed politician who shared a ticket with Norman Mailer—has died at eighty-eight. The New York Times obituary has many good anecdotes about Breslin’s career, including the story of what he did with a letter he received from the serial killer known as the Son of Sam. And Newsday reprints Breslin’s New York Herald Tribune column about Clifton Pollard, the man who dug President Kennedy’s grave.

The Guardian has published an article about French novelist Edouard Louis, whose book The End of Eddy, about a gay boy growing up in a factory town in northern France, has been a bestseller in France, and is now being published in English translation in the UK (and soon by FSG in the US). In response to the working-class support of the right-wing National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, the author is decrying left-wing politicians for ignoring the plights of the working class. “Of course, I’m revolted by the right, but I never expected the right to do anything for the lower classes, but the left,” Louis says. “The left has stopped speaking about poverty, misery and exclusion. People talk about Le Pen winning the presidential [race], but the FN has been winning for the last 20 years because the left that should be representing people like my mother has abandoned them.”

The Accusation, a novel written by a North Korean dissident who uses the pseudonym Bandi, was miraculously smuggled out of the country in 2013, and is now finding an international audience.

We’re excited to see the next installment of writer and filmmaker Stephen Elliott’s dark, strange, and timely web series Driven, in which Elliott plays an author who drives for a car service. In the first episode, his passengers include two Trump supporters and author Michael Cunningham. In later episodes, he gives a ride to a pot-smoking cop played by Lili Taylor, and a comic-book-store employee who goes to great lengths to steal his cat from his ex.

In his latest photography colum, novelist and critic Teju Cole studies Danny Lyon’s The Cotton Pickers, which was taken in the late 1960s, writing, “I love and hate it at the same time.”  

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