“Throughout Franzen’s life in public, he has figured himself as embattled, enemy-beset.”
Editors: Jesse McCarthy & Tara K. Menon
Past Editor: Nicholas Dames
“There Are More Things”: Benjamín Labatut on Betrayal, Fiction, and the Future
“If I’m honest, I never came back to Chile, at least not to the country of my early childhood, an inferno in which I was happy.”
Tender Gossip: Darryl Pinckney’s “Come Back in September”
Is there a writing life than can safely dispense with categories like identity and commitment, which count so much in how we live now?
Leon Forrest: “Make a Way Out of No Way”
"He regarded with skepticism and clarity the temptations to make racial identity the foundation of our humanity."
Magnificent Wreck: Samuel Taylor Coleridge at 250
How to interpret Coleridge’s voluminous patchwork of triumphs, fragments, stolen snippets, and unrealized plans? Does any larger pattern emerge?
“Black Genius Against the World”
In 1937, a newspaper trumpeted two speculative fiction stories—“Black Internationale” and “Black Empire”— as dramatically as if they were news.
World Literature Comes Full Circle, 1522–2022
What can readers learn from five centuries of circumnavigation?
“Once It Is Written, It Is Forgotten”: Kate Zambreno on Hervé Guibert
“So I must begin again, when I only have months left to write it.”
“The Last Samurai,” Unread
“In a world where the imagined purpose of the novel is to entertain—not to teach or spark further inquiry—The Last Samurai dissents.”
“The Breath of Life”: Sheila Heti on Art, Loss, and Immortality
“Let it become the thing that leads you through your days for years on end—just allowing that problem to live in front of you and to guide you.”
Into the Woods with Yiyun Li
Fairy tales—like Li’s Book of Goose—are so scary because there is no cushion between you and the will of the world, no room for mistakes.
Futures of Postimperial Glasgow
Britain’s “Second City” profited from shipbuilding and the slave trade, but has slowly declined for decades. What should Glasgow’s future hold?
“In Any Version of Reality”: Talking SF with Charles Yu
“It’s why science fiction matters so much to me: I’m trying to dislocate our sense of the normal.”
A Detective Poet, and an Empire in Revolt
In 1857, the largest rebellion against the British East India Company took place. And famed poet Mirza Ghalib was there to witness it all.
“Our Lives Are at Stake”: Elaine Hsieh Chou on the Necessity of Asian American Writers
“Somehow, we are so present, and yet not even there. That surreal juxtaposition really pissed me off and fascinated me.”
Mandy Sayer interviews Helen Garner, 1989
“We didn’t think of ourselves as hippies, we thought of ourselves as serious people with politics.”
A Woman’s Working-Class Experimentalism
Where do working-class women who are literary and experimental find, first, their models, and next, their readership?
Putting French Literary History on Trial
Mohamed Mbougar Sarr’s Goncourt-winning novel confronts the racist history of France’s literary prizes.
“Cheerfully Monstrous”: Dodie Bellamy on Writing and Grieving
“I didn’t pay much attention to what was being put in the archives… there are letters that, if I had been paying attention, wouldn’t be there.”
McCarthy’s Perpetual Motion Scam
Tom McCarthy hasn’t evaded the literary brand: if you continually say nothing, “saying nothing” becomes what you, the novelist, say.