At the Los Angeles Review of Books Blog, Rebecca Schultz talks to The Perfect Nanny author Leïla Slimani about the strange space that nannies occupy in a household and how identity factored into her novel. “I don’t care about identity, I don’t really understand what it means. I’m not interested in what people are; I’m interested in what people do,” Slimani said. “So in my books I like to make plenty of references to identity, and often with an ironic tone, just to say that maybe identity is not the clue, and it can’t help the reader understand the character.”
The National Book Critics Circle has announced the 2018 class of Emerging Critics.
Alexandra Altman profiles There There author Tommy Orange for the New York Times. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes who grew up in Oakland, Orange says that in his youth he often felt like he didn’t fit in anywhere, something he addresses in his novel. “There’s been a lot of reservation literature written,” Orange said. “I wanted to have my characters struggle in the way that I struggled, and the way that I see other native people struggle, with identity and with authenticity.”
The New York Post reports that Village Voice editor in chief Stephen Mooallem “quietly left the company” last March. The alt-weekly has yet to hire a replacement.
President Bill Clinton tells the Times’s “By the Book” column about the books that influenced his political decisions. Besides choosing Al Gore as a running-mate after reading Earth in the Balance, Clinton says he can’t remember any specific choices that were inspired by literature. “But books by Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison made me want to do more about civil rights,” he said. “I read ‘America: What Went Wrong,’ by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, in 1992, and it strengthened my determination to try to reverse trickle-down economics and achieve a fairer and more prosperous economy.”