Orhan Pamuk

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? …

As hundreds of thousands of bookworms converge on this capital, Iranian writers are pleading with the government to loosen its grip and allow a banned publisher into the Tehran International Book Fair.

The 10-day book fair, which kicks off Tuesday at the Grand Mosque Mosalla, bills itself as "the most important publishing event in Asia and the Middle East," drawing an average of 550,000 visitors a day. Though most publishers come from the Islamic world, the festival also welcomes Western companies

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