• November 20, 2015

    Michel Houellebecq

    Michel Houellebecq

    Michel Houellebecq (whose novel Submission is reviewed in a forthcoming issue of Bookforum) has weighed in on the situation in France with a rather strange op-ed.

    Turns out writers of literary fiction can still get rich! Just only a few of them at a time. The Wall Street Journal blames that catch-all villain social media: “Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads have contributed to a culture in which everyone reads—and tells their friends about—the same handful of books a year. It’s increasingly a winner-take-all economy, publishing executives say.” (And note that if you get a still-huge-but-less-so book advance, it may not last you as long as you’d think.)

    Especially important to make sure that publishing that novel will be worth your while if you’re going to put people you know into it: “It’s a violent thing to do,” Karl Ove Knausgaard noted recently. “It’s taking something from them. I didn’t realize how powerful writing is. It fixes something in place, and it’s always a reduction. My mother is treated very well in the books, but she was angry, it’s so hard to be reduced.”

    It looks as if journalists at the Financial Times will soon go on strike.

    New Yorkers, isn’t there something pleasingly perverse about the idea of traveling all the way to Miami for a book fair? You could even hear Brooklyn’s beloved Ben Lerner speak out there in the sunshine. Go!

    Or if you’d rather stay closer to home, Todd Haynes’s Carol, based on the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, opens this weekend.