Perhaps consulting the will of Dr. Evil, Susanna Clarke has netted a millionaire’s deal for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, an 800-page novel dealing with the last two magicians in England. Fortunately, Clarke has staved off Harry Potter ripoff claims. Because Clarke conveniently started her book “10 years before.” News of the Clarke deal has spread far and wide across the publishing industry, with agents encouraging novelists to “backdate their drafts” for anything remotely derivative.
Is David Mitchell’s Ireland’s answer to Pynchon? The Telegraph tries to find out (user: email@example.com, pw: mabuse). Mitchell is one of Granta’s 20 Best Young UK Novelists. And Sam Leith believes that Mitchell’s latest, The Cloud Atlas, will be one of the highest praised books of the year.
Judith Jones will fuck your shit up. Not only has she given John Updike at least three black eyes, but she’s also lacerated Anne Tyler several times while editing her novels. However, the Baltimore Sun concludes that Jones is an editor who balances gentleness with harsh intervention, when necessary.
Borders is tapping into inner-city neighborhoods. The Times claims that recent stores built in Detroit and Chicago are for “underserved” neighborhoods. The Detroit Free Press suggests that there’s plenty of indepdent life still left. The Detroit store was built in a downtown section that once housed sizable retail. And at 8,000 square feet, it’s apparently “the biggest store since Hudson’s closed 20 years ago.” Borders claims the Chicago store in Uptown is an effort to “revitalize” a commercial district, but it looks like gentrification to me.
Sean “Puffy” Combs and Raisin in the Sun? Say it ain’t so.
Chick lit, lad lit, and now Can lit. But in this case, it looks like David Solway may be Canda’s answer to Dale Peck.
Milan Kundera’s in demand in Shanghai, enough to make him the best-selling foreign author in the city. Hybrid publishers are reported to be preparing Mao’s Little Red Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
Kate Christensen, whom Ron was kind enough to alert me to, is interviewed by the Journal News. From what I’ve been able to tell, the new book involves a man diagnosed with McDonald’s disease, but who is still obsessed with eating Happy Meals. If he doesn’t stop eating fatty foods, he’ll die a horrible, miserable and stunningly descriptive death at the age of 40. Nevertheless, the allure of the de Montaigne Happy Meal action figures is enough to keep the man eating. Christensen calls her new novel part of “Loser Lit,” which is not to be confused “Laser Lit,” a recent flurry of novels that have featured protagonists taking charge of their destinies shortly after undergoing corrective eye surgery.
Woody Allen and Joyce Carol Oates are among those named by the Tacoma Tribune as talents who are too prolific.
Viggo Mortensen recently showed up in town to read his poetry. Here’s a sample:
I walk the line that Nimoy wrought
I am not Spock or Aragorn
The fangirls swoon upon my locks
The fanboys EBay off my socks
The fans behold my brawny bod
With glasses on, I hide and trod
Who shot J.R.R.? I did, of course
As I was strutting on a horse
You think he died in ’71?
Well, the geezer croaked when I was done
A bullet there between his eyes
Killed at eleventy-zero, a big surprise
They kept the news from kith and gents
The fans had Tyler to cream their pants
But Peter knew, and so did I
And Tolkien’s death did make us cry
An accident, like Brendan Lee!
And so I hid up in a tree
Political correctness has kept George Washington’s name from being properly honored. And here I was thinking that it was just because today’s United States pays little heed to its foundations.
[UPDATE: Whoop, there it is.]
Yahoo wants to out-Google Google. Google has responded, indicating that they plan to “out-out-Yahoo Yahoo’s out-Googling Googling outside after out-Yahooing out-Google outsourcing.” Venn diagram enthusiasts are still trying to figure out just what the hell these two giants were talking about.
And Frederick Morgan, long-time editor for The Hudson Review, has passed on. He was 81.