I was reared in 19th Century Russian literature and then the literature of American Jews (Roth, Bellow, etc.) and I always had difficulty with the relative lack of emotion in English lit.
Our political mise en scène has metamorphosed of late into a dark carnival, … confusing and ominous from any vantage point.
In the category of re-reading, I discovered MRS. DALLOWAY anew, and –– if you’ll forgive the analogy –– it was like being prescribed exactly the right SSRI. Interior life! Laid out in all of its intricacy, and yet the product of a turbulent mind. As a writer, it gave me hope for my own turbulent mind.
Much as I love the damn thing when the A is capitalized, the most potent words I read this past year weren’t even lowercase art. They were more like a truth-seeking missile, one that seethed with indignant if wholly justified outrage.
“I’m grateful now to have lived William Stoner’s life.” —Alice McDermott
"My understanding of Russian literature and its history was shaken up by Muireann Maguire’s Stalin’s Ghosts: Gothic Themes in Early Soviet Literature; I had never given a thought to that side of Soviet literature, and I doubt many people have, but she convinced me that (as she puts it) ‘The centrality of the Gothic-fantastic to Russian fiction is almost impossible to exaggerate.’” Stephen Dodson kicks off A Year in Reading.