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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Johann Hari, Novelists, Fiction, & Poetry

The Slumdog Kill-ionaire is back, and he is reminding us how exhilarating fiction can be when novelists finally leave their seminar rooms and dive into the real world. The Indian writer Aravind Adiga won the Booker Prize last year for The White Tiger, a story of an Indian slum kid who rises to riches by killing his boss. Now he has followed it with Between The Assassinations, an armoury of short stories about a typical Indian city as it rises with a great heave from poverty to power (for a few). Adiga has become great by ignoring the clichéd advice given to all young writers, which has long since hardened into a dogma: write about what you know. He is from a typical, rich Indian family buffeted by servants who are treated as invisible. He is so talented he could have made that world interesting, for a while, in its small way. He could have done what too many British and American novelists are doing, and ever more exquisitely described his own navel. Johann Hari: Please, dear novelists, get real

Telling Tails In fiction, details matter. But only imagination can illuminate the human soul.
by Tim O’Brien

Border Crossings Does a national literature still have meaning in an age of open borders and polyglot cultures? by Margaret Atwood, Joseph O’Neill, Monica Ali, and Anne Michaels-->

Eyes on the Prize Literary awards are inherently subjective, but they are also the most powerful antidote we have to the decline of serious fiction. by Alice Sebold

The Laugh “Neal had believed the myths about hyenas. Until he saw them kill.” by Téa Obreht
INTERVIEW: Obreht on how National Geographic shaped her writing career.

PS A breakup letter to my therapist by Jill McCorkle
INTERVIEW: McCorkle on happy endings and her irritation with Moby Dick.

Hungry by David Baker
Two Poems by Linda Gregerson-->
Fire Ants by Chelsea Rathburn-->
Bone Fires by Mark Jarman
AUDIO: The poet reads his poem aloud
Boy by Carol Muske-Dukes
AUDIO: The poet reads her poem aloud


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