Literary art & latte art, Taylor Maid, Sebastopol
Maud Newton: We’re here to talk about The Liars’ Gospel, which is a great, great book, but first, if I understand this correctly: you were just in Cuba with Margaret Atwood?
Naomi Alderman: We climbed up into the mountains where Che Guevara hid during the Cuban Missile Crisis to see the Cuban Solitaire (a bird); we took boats through the Zapata Swamp; and our bus broke down on the way from the Zapata Swamp at a police checkpoint where Margaret Atwood and I sat on the steps and talked about God.
MN: Oh, to be a gecko on the wall! What else did you talk about?
NA: My new novel is…well, I have bitten the bullet and admitted that it is a feminist science fiction novel of the 1970s and ’80s, of the kind people wrote a lot then, but don’t seem to anymore.
I love Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman.(via philiprappaport)
“Remember you are the daughter of a daughter of a woman who made her own luck—even when she had no idea what she was doing.”
—Erica Jong, in a letter to her granddaughter, in the new 2011 introduction to the book of Fear of Flying. Follow our Mother’s Day blog series penned by acclaimed writers, celebrating and remembering their mothers.
BEYOND “THE GREAT GATSBY”…
All the glamour and cynicismof the dawning Jazz Age are on display in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debut story collection. Flappers and Philosophers was first published in 1920, on the heels of the young author’s smash hit novel This Side of Paradise. The collection contains some of his most famous early stories, including “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” “The Ice Palace,” “Head and Shoulders,” and “The Offshore Pirate.” In these pages we meet many of Fitzgerald’s trademark character types: the beautiful and headstrong young women and the dissolute young men of what came to be called the Lost Generation. With their bobbed hair and dangling cigarettes, his characters are sophisticated, witty, and, above all, modern: the spoiled heiress who falls for her kidnapper, the intellectual student whose life is turned upside-down by a chorus girl, the feuding debutantes whose weapons are cutting words and a pair of scissors.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel brilliantly satirizes a glamorous and doomed marriage in the decadent high society of New York City in the 1920s. Inspired in part by Fitzgerald’s own tumultuous union with his wife, Zelda, The Beautiful and Damned chronicles the downfall of would-be Jazz Age aristocrats Anthony and Gloria Patch. The novel introduces us to the pleasure-seeking Anthony and his beautiful, vain, and shallow golden girl just after their marriage, when—believing a large inheritance to be imminent—they begin living well beyond their means. When the expected windfall is withheld, their lives are consumed by the pursuit of wealth and their alliance begins to disintegrate. Haunting and keenly observed, The Beautiful and Damned provides a vivid portrait of a lost world and the rootless and materialistic generation that inhabited it.
One of themost brilliant first novels in the history of American literature, the book that launched F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary career. Published in 1920, when the author was just twenty-three, This Side of Paradise recounts the education of a youth, and to this universal story Fitzgerald brings the promise of everything that was new in the vigorous, restless America of the years following World War I. Amory Blaine— egoistic, versatile, callow, and imaginative—inhabits a narrative interwoven with songs, poems, dramatic dialogue, questions and answers. His growth from self-absorption to sexual awareness and personhood is described with continuous improvisatory energy and delight. Fitzgerald’s formal inventiveness and verve heighten our sense that the world being described is our own, modern world.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second collection of short stories contains some of his best-known tales of the glittering era he gave a name to. Published in 1922, Tales of the Jazz Age featured not only the flappers and lost young men Fitzgerald had made his name with, but a greater variety of characters and scenes. The critically admired novella “May Day” contrasts its drunken debutantes with a mob of war veterans battling socialists in the streets. Here, too, are several imaginative stories that Fitzgerald described as “fantasies,” including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” about a man who ages in reverse, and “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” a surreal fable about the excesses of greed. Tales of the Jazz Age not only furthered Fitzgerald’s reputation as a master storyteller but cemented his place as the spokesman of an age.
Alexander Nazaryan on Henry Miller, a Brooklyn writer who hated Brooklyn: http://t.co/xD6j2Bqyoh
This week’s podcast: A physicist is subject to the law of birds.
In a poor city in a poor country on a poor continent, there is a group of people with a singular purpose: to look rich.
Or, rather, to look good — and to fully embody the suave, elegant style that a wardrobe of three-piece suits, silk socks, fedoras and canes might suggest.
They are called sapeurs or members of the Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes (the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People). And when they go out, they turn the streets of Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, into a fashion runway.
Photo Credit: Hector Mediavilla/Picturetank