I believe that just as much as teens fear time, adults do as well. It would be selfish of us to think that they can understand and accept our evolution into adulthood much easier than we can. Maybe in reality, teenagers and parents are scared of the same things.
Next week, Martin Amis will publish Zone of Interest, a dark new novel that takes place, like his earlier Time’s Arrow, in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. In this week’s New Yorker, Joyce Carol Oates reviews the book, suggesting that Amis is most compelling when he writes as a “satiric vivisectionist.” You could also read our own Mark O’Connell on Lionel Asbo: State of England.
Like Jonathan Franzen, he has a strong prescriptivist streak about which it does not occur to him to be embarrassed. He uses humor to leaven what gradually emerges as a rather severe Emersonian message about the state of the American soul in the consumer age. He really does want you to put away your iPhone—no kidding.
Chief among your more anxiety-producing kinds of literature is the genre of books geared towards expectant mothers. Examples of the genre offer every bit of advice imaginable — much of it contradictory — and condemn a laundry list of relatively common behaviors. At Salon, our own Lydia Kiesling recounts her own dive into the pregnancy-lit waters. This might also be a good time to read fellow staff writer Edan Lepucki on the perils of reading while expecting.
Tuesday New Release Day
Out this week: The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis; A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction by Terry Pratchett; Ballroom by Alice Simpson; Hello Mr. Bones & Goodbye Mr. Rat by Patrick McCabe; Rooms by Lauren Oliver; and How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, who released an essay collection two years ago. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview. Support The Millions: Bookmark this link and start there when you shop at Amazon.
John Darnielle, who you may know through his work with The Mountain Goats, released a new novel last week, titled Wolf in White Van. Over at The Hairpin, our onetime #LitBeat editor Emily M. Keeler reviews the book, which she calls “a novel that unspools rather than reads.” Pair with: Jesse Jarnow on the 33 ⅓ book series, which includes a volume written by Darnielle.
I wanted to tell that story about a magician, I think, in part because I felt so lost and so rudderless in exactly the same way that fantasy heroes tend to be so focused and directed. They’ve always got the Dumbledore, or the Gandalf, to guide them and put them back on their path, tell them where to go. And I felt like there was no one in my life like that. I felt the real absence of someone like that. So I wanted to give these characters the experience of wandering around and where there ought to be a mentor showing them were to go, there’s nobody. They just have to figure it out for themselves and they make a lot of bad choices along the way.
Following last year’s Pulitzer Prize, which Donna Tartt won for her first novel in eleven years, it means something when a critic draws a favorable comparison between The Goldfinch and a new book. For Laura Miller, though, it’s a natural reaction to the latest from Sarah Waters, which seems poised to “scratch the same big-novel itch” as Tartt’s novel did last year. (FYI, Sarah Waters wrote a Year in Reading entry for The Millions.)