Why do intellectuals hate democracy? Was Borges a fascist? The contentious 2010 Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa talks to Michael Moynihan about the big questions in literature and politics.
Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian novelist and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, is considered a political novelist because his politics aren’t the politics of most novelists. In the pantheon of modern Spanish-language fiction you’ll find a surplus of writers informed by radical thought—think Jose Saramago, Roberto Bolaño, Eduardo Galeano, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But Vargas Llosa is an outlier, an apostate from radicalism turned habitué of the classical liberal world, a former supporter of the Cuban Revolution transformed into an evangelist for free markets and free trade.
Eleven years after she was kidnapped and held for nine months, Elizabeth Smart is out with a new memoir. From the words her abductor spoke as he seized her to his wife’s sanction of rape, speed-read ‘My Story.’
In 2002, Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl from a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, was abducted, raped, and chained for nine months by religious zealot Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wand Barzee. In a new memoir, My Story, Smart has told her own account of her ordeal, writing that she tried several times to flee and was once almost rescued by a homicide detective. We speed-read the book for the nine biggest revelations.1. The Moment Mitchell Decided Smart ‘Was the One’The first time Brian David Mitchell saw Elizabeth Smart was in November 2001.
Wrote for The New Republic since 1958.
American cinema will never be the same. Legendary film critic Stanley Kauffmann died Wednesday at the age of 97. The cause was pneumonia. The critic who defined a generation, Kauffmann came to The New Republic in 1958, after brief stints at Time and Newsweek. Kauffmann stayed with the magazine for 55 years, becoming the most constant voice in the golden age of film criticism. He was also known for his belief in cultural renaissance. “He fathered the term ‘the film generation’ to describe the rising young wave of cinephiles,” writes James Wolcott in a tribute. There will be no funeral, but rather a memorial service at The New Republic.
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature is expected to be announced Thursday, and readers are eagerly gearing up for it. But the award is never given posthumously, which creates a dilemma for members of the Swedish Academy: they face the constant risk of failing to honor the best authors of their time. From Joyce to Tolstoy to Woolf, here are some of the giants of literature who passed away before they could be made a laureate. Plus, a gallery of the all the winners since 2000.
Will it finally be Haruki Murakami’s year? What about Svetlana Alexievich and Assia Djebar? If you’re wondering, ‘Who?’ we’ve got you covered with a primer on the top 10 likeliest Nobel Prize in Literature winners ahead of Thursday’s announcement. Plus, a gallery of the biggest Nobel snubs in history.
The sports betting site Ladbrokes opened its book on the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 and since then has had a remarkable 50 percent accuracy rate. It correctly predicted the winner in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. This year, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami once again has the shortest odds, but you might be unfamiliar with some of the other favorites. Here’s a primer on the 10 likeliest winners so you can study up before the prize is announced.
There have been numerous novels inspired by Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice,' but Jo Baker’s depiction of what happens below stairs with the servants is the most intriguing yet. Lauren Elkin on a smart fan fiction.
Since its publication in 1813, and most especially in the past few decades, Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice has inspired numerous adaptations, faithful and eccentric: a number of film and television treatments, a couple of musicals, and by my count 171 novels ranging from 2009’s breakout hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to lesser-known titles like Pride and Platypus, Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star, and Pride and Prejudice: the Jewess and the Gentile.
What happens when Americans return from war? David Finkel’s book answers that question with disturbing and painful detail. Veteran Matt Gallagher reflects.
According to a report (PDF) released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year, an estimated 22 veterans committed suicide in America each day in 2010. U.S. Army soldier suicides outnumbered combat-related deaths in 2012. And 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America survey respondents have considered taking their own life.Those are the numbers, and numbers have a way of numbing us to the complexities that make up everyday life.
In her new book 'The Glass Slipper,' Susan Ostrov Weisser looks at the rivalry between two of England's most famous female novelists.
It’s a fascinating oddity of literary history that the great Victorian novelist of romantic love, Charlotte Brontë, despised that other great British chronicler of love, Jane Austen, and could not quite comprehend why Austen was valued so highly by critics in Brontë’s time. This seems counterintuitive: after all, both appear regularly at the top of lists of favorites compiled by readers, especially female readers, who love classic novels and all things romantic.
John Freeman, the former editor of Granta and author of the new book ‘How to Read a Novelist,’ knows his literary reviews—he has written for almost 200 publications around the world. He picks his favorite books of criticism, from Updike to Edwidge Danticat.
Hugging the Shore by John Updike. For 20 months, between marriages, John Updike lived alone in Boston, “my foam-rubber reading chair three paces from my dining table and two paces from my bed.” Hugging the Shore, Updike’s fourth collection of assorted prose, grew out of this period, and shows what marvelous things can be done with readerly solitude. Filled with travel pieces on Venezuela, essays on going barefoot, and reviews of an astonishing array of writers, from Ngugi wa Thiong’o to Buchi Emecheta to V.
Study says it improves empathy.
Your high school English teacher was right. A study by psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano of the New School for Social Research claims that reading literary fiction augments our ability to detect and understand emotions. Kidd and Castano randomly assigned 1,000 participants some texts to read, either portions of popular fiction such as Danielle Steel or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, or more literary texts, such as Téa Obreht’s The Tiger's Wife, Don DeLillo, or Anton Chekhov. They then used a series of tests to measure empathy—in other words, how accurately they could identify emotions in others. Scores were consistently higher for those who read literary fiction. The scientists were careful not to entirely dismiss the more popular authors, saying, “There are likely benefits of reading popular fiction—certainly entertainment. We just did not measure them.”
As Anastasia’s mother.
So there will also be plot in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Actress Jennifer Ehle has been cast in the Fifty Shades film adaptation as Anastasia Steele’s mother, her rep confirmed Monday. Wait, there are parts of Fifty Shades that aren’t straight-up S&M? Who knew? She joins Dakota Johnson, who plays the heroine, and Charlie Human, who plays 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey.
Her book is released Tuesday.
Elizabeth Smart’s new book tells “what it was like every single day” of the nine months that she was held by two religious fanatics, she told Anderson Cooper on Monday. Now 25, Smart was abducted by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Brazee, when Smart was just 14, and was held for nine months and raped and abused constantly. Smart’s book on the kidnapping will be released Tuesday. “I didn’t want to go 10 percent and sugarcoat the rest,” Smart said. “I want to reach out to those survivors and those victims. I want them to know that these things do happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to be defined by it for the rest of your life.”
Are you a football fan? This one book will change the way you view the NFL and the price players pay for your enjoyment and dollars. Kevin Fixler on why he can’t watch a game the same way anymore.
I'm unable to watch football these days as I used to. I desperately wish I could, but I just can't. And after you finish reading this book, you won't be able to either. The book is League of Denial, from brothers Mark Fainaru-Wada (co-author of Game of Shadows) and Steve Fainaru (2008 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting), and it is one that the National Football League probably wishes was never written. The book explores the football factory that was the city of Pittsburgh, why it became the epicenter of the NFL's concussion crisis, and how an improbable character by chance flicked the first domino to set off a devastating chain reaction with which the league is still grappling.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the devil. Do you? Religion professor Candida Moss on why the justice’s admission is common—and what the Bible says about devilry.
In an interview in New York Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared that he believes the Devil is a “real person.” Scalia went on to say—in a statement reminiscent of Baudelaire and The Usual Suspects—that the Devil is actively engaged in “getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.” Many, like Scalia’s interviewer, were surprised by his boldness. But the feisty and controversial Justice is on sure footing when he says that this is “standard Catholic doctrine.
The left today shouldn’t look to John F. Kennedy as a liberal pioneer. James L. Swanson and Michael F. Bishop on what the assassinated president really stood for.
Peter Beinart, in “The Rise of the New New Left,” makes a number of interesting and gloomy observations about voting patterns among millennials. But in the course of an otherwise enlightening article, he misrepresents the legacy of one of the most popular American presidents.In a discussion of “political generations” inspired by the work of the sociologist Karl Mannheim, Beinart asserts: “If you are in your late 50s, you are probably too young to remember the high tide of Kennedy-Johnson big government liberalism.
In 'Women Who Don't Wait in Line,' Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani talks about running for public office and having the courage to fail.
In January 2010, when I officially announced my decision to run for Congress, so many years after first having dreamed the idea, I expected to feel an overwhelming sense of relief and excitement. Instead, to my surprise, I was racked with anxiety. Heart-pounding, ear-buzzing, stomach-churning anxiety. Often, as I was heading to important meetings, I’d find myself in a cold sweat. Why, now that I was doing what I’d always wanted, was I feeling so panicked? It wasn’t that I questioned my own commitment—I wanted this job to make a difference more than anything.
In her new book, ‘The XX Factor,’ Alison Wolf examines the rise of the working woman and why the beauty advantage has a real impact on office politics.
Just the other day, at a London event, I heard a well-known female columnist singing the praises of a recent program on the BBC. There had been three economists discussing the latest dismal news, she said, all women, and the moderator was female too. “And they were all so nice and polite and kept saying how much they admired the others’ work. Not like men would be at all.”Well, maybe. Perhaps the producers just failed to find a good cross section of economic opinion that evening.
In the tradition of recent psychological thrillers, Fiona McFarlane’s new novel 'The Night Guest' unwraps the breakdown of a woman’s mind. Andrea Walker raves.
The unreliable narrator is a staple of recent psychological thrillers, from Gillian Flynn to S.J. Watson to Tana French. In these novels characters are untrustworthy because they are psychopaths, because they have amnesia, or because they are recovering from PTSD, respectively. Fiona McFarlane puts a distinctive and subtle twist on this trend, with results that are no less gripping. Her main character is a seventy-five-year-old woman, widowed, living alone in a remote beach town in Australia.
Two masters of the crime novel have new works: Jo Nesbo’s ‘Police’ and George Pelecanos’s ‘The Double.’
Police by Jo Nesbo. After starring in nine of Jo Nesbo’s novels, Harry Hole, a talented, troubled detective, needs a break from the violent world his author created for him. Oslo’s chill, humanity’s evil, and a violent, unsolved crime that struck too close to home had made this world seem too much like a nightmare. When he finally surfaces in Police, midway through the story, colleagues notice the laugh lines around his eyes, how happy and rested he seems.
A new book sheds light on the legendary war photographer’s work in the fashion industry. See iconic images.
You may know Lee Miller as the legendary photographer who captured World War II—but she had a long and fruitful career in the fashion world as well. Miller, who was born in 1907, was multi-faceted: “a war photographer and a fashion model, a Surrealist and a witness with a camera at the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps,” writes Becky E. Conekin in her new book, Lee Miller in Fashion (out with Monacelli Press on October 8).
CHILL YOUR BONES
CBS Buys ‘Scary Stories’ Film
1980s children’s horror books.More
Oldest U.S. Book Sells for $14.1M
Printed in 1640.More
National Book Award Winners Announced
The Good Lord Bird takes fiction prize. More
STRIKE A POSE
Selfie Is Word of the Year
Beat out twerk, bitcoin.More
Author Barbara Park Dies
Wrote the “Junie B. Jones” series.More
Writer Doris Lessing Dies
Nobel Laureate was 94.More