In Invasion of the Space Invaders, Martin Amis's 1982 treatise on the emergent video game medium, the British author wrote: "The video game tells a story. The better you get, the longer the story lasts. And we all know how children feel about stories." In the early 1980s, video-game stories were laughably straightforward: the aliens die in Space Invaders, the dots are eaten in Pac-Man, the ball is batted in Pong.
In the latest fracas over literary sexism, Claire Messud objected to a comment an interviewer made about whether she would want to be friends with the main character of her new novel, The Woman Upstairs.
The interviewer asks: "I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.”
And Messud answers:
“For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao? …
The 2012 National Book Awards took place tonight, when accolades were given in each of four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People's Literature.
The winners were:
Fiction: Louise Erdrich, The Round House
Non-Fiction: Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Poetry: David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations
Young People's Literature: William Alexander, Goblin Secrets
When the first issue of its new Chinese-language edition appears next month, the London-based literary journal Granta, a publication that has existed in English since the Victorian era, will have a presence in four of the five most widely spoken languages. But plans for the globalization of a leading quarterly that proudly calls itself “the magazine of new writing” don’t stop there.
“In five years I could see us with 15 or 17 foreign editions,” John Freeman, the editor of Granta, said in an interview in New York this summer.
The guy at the checkout at a Brooklyn branch of Trader Joe's, a wildly popular speciality grocery chain, had a spray of blond hair, a masters in literature and a California drawl on the words: "Hey, man." He was packing the soy chorizo into a brown bag when he glanced at the book I was carrying – a copy of Brooklyn Is, a 1939 essay by the author and journalist James Agee – and asked if I'd read it. I shook my head. "Man, it's amazing," he said. "Everyone in Brooklyn should read it."