• September 29, 2017

    Edward St. Aubyn

    Edward St. Aubyn talks to the New York Times about Dunbar, his new adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Rather than a politician or a monarch, St. Aubyn chose to remake his Lear as a media mogul. “I wanted to deal with the permafrost of power, the people who are always there,” he said. “Administrations come and go and prime ministers come and go. I think that [a media titan] is the modern analog to a king.” St. Aubyn said that while he didn’t base his character on anyone in particular, readers have come up with numerous ideas as to who Durban resembles. “Someone in California said, this is obviously Sumner Redstone, but I had never heard of Sumner Redstone, so in a sense they can’t be right. Someone thought it was Trump, but I finished it before Trump became president. Someone thinks it’s Murdoch,” he said. “This is the miracle of reading . . . the text merges with the imagination and experience of the reader and becomes something slightly different in every mind. So just choose your favorite media mogul.”

    Jennifer Egan tells the Times about what she read while working on her latest novel, Manhattan Beach. Besides true stories of survival at sea and fiction like Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep, there was also a 1942 edition of the Merchant Marine Officers’ Handbook, which earned her “some quizzical looks on the elliptical machine.”

    The Columbia Journalism Review collects the best articles from Playboy, whose founder Hugh Hefner died Wednesday at the age of 91. The Times rounds up Hefner’s most memorable interviews.

    Carly Lewis talks to Lauren McKeon about her new book, F-Bomb, a study of the women who lead the anti-feminist movement. McKeon says that people were curious as to why she would set out to humanize these women. “If you think these movements are just full of monsters . . . well, monsters don’t exist. It’s very easy to dismiss a monster and think that the ideas of monsters won’t connect, that they won’t gain traction and won’t infiltrate policy or thinking or media,” she noted. “It’s harder to grapple with the fact that these people go to their kids’ soccer games and go to book clubs and go to work.”

    WNYC looks at the write-in candidates from the New York City mayoral primary earlier this month. Alongside former mayors, Donald Trump, and Beyonce, “writers Fran Leibowitz (sic), Emily Gould, Choire Sicha, Colsen Whitehead (sic), Kurt Anderson (sic), and Shaun King each scored one write-in vote.”

    In the New York Times Magazine, Sam Anderson profiles John McPhee. He recounts the numerous ways in which McPhee has avoided the limelight during his career—never publishing author photos on his books, ignoring the news of his Pulitzer win until after he was done teaching class, turning down birthday parties. “As I spoke to people about McPhee,” Anderson writes, “I got the sense that they had all been waiting, respectfully, for decades for the chance to gush about him in public.” One such gush comes from New Yorker colleague Mark Singer, who said that the sight of McPhee fishing on their semiannual trips makes him “want to tell this guy how much you love him.”