Tag: Fiction

Public Picks 2017

Each year around this time we try to send our readers into summer with a thoughtfully curated list of the books that wowed, charmed, and provoked us most over the past 12 months. For this, the fifth ...

Procedural Racism

Every detective story relays at least two narratives: the story of the crime and the story of the investigation. In a police procedural, the story of the investigation has police officers discover ...

Audio Companions

Some years back, the cultural critic Stephen Metcalf noted, in a smart review of a new essay collection by David Sedaris, that we turn to radio for companionship. Companionship might appear to be ...

Science and the Wolf

Once upon a time there was Science. Pure of heart, untainted by the kingdom’s societal structures or geopolitical context, Science was simply Science: an apolitical quest for objective truth and beauty. ...

Ordinary People

One fantasy of modernism is telling all there is to tell about the most ordinary of lives. On a train journey from Richmond to Waterloo Station, Virginia Woolf watched “an old lady in the corner ...

Keyword of the Week: Hunger

Humanitarian groups are projecting four impending famines, in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen. This week’s Public Bookshelf features Public Books articles about the history of food crises ...

Kafka Transformed

Franz Kafka’s Gregor Samsa has undergone numerous metamorphoses in English: into “a gigantic insect,” “a monstrous vermin,” “a monstrous cockroach,” “some sort of monstrous insect,” and “a monstrous bug” ...

That Was Now

When Ali Smith’s Autumn was released in the UK this past October, it was greeted as the first “serious” Brexit novel. Yet its ostensible subject is the friendship between an old man and a young ...

The Yurt of Fiction

This summer, George Saunders wrote that Donald Trump had given him a gift. Saunders had been traveling across the country, attending Trump rallies ...

The South African Novel Today

Who is South Africa’s leading English novelist? Who has succeeded Alan Paton, Nadine Gordimer, and J. M. Coetzee—still with us, but hardly a South African novelist any longer? Since the arrival of democracy ...

Miéville’s Surreal Weapons

In his rambling 2011 photo-essay “London’s Overthrow,” composed in the lead-up to the London Olympics, China Miéville takes his reader through the ever-changing, history-drenched streets of his beloved city ...

Feeling like the Internet

What has the advent of the internet meant for the novel? Apart, that is, from its having opened a gaping time-sucking sinkhole at the center of culture? The sweet drip-feed of sentiment and savagery ...