Corpses, Underrated Novelists and Television

He may not be as hunky or as lucrative as Nick Laird, but Boris Starling is cadaver-crazy. Not only are his novels filled with corpses, but he also appeared as one on television. “I’ve already started making plans for how my own corpse will look like,” said Starling. “My family has a proud tradition of being buried in open caskets.” Clearly, Jim Crace has nothing on this guy.

Alex Beam calls Charles Portis “the greatest writer you’ve never heard of.” Ron Rosenbaum’s also crazy about him. So is Tin House‘s Cassandra Cleghorn. Portis is having four of his books reisused by the Overlook Press. And if you can’t wait, the Atlantic has one of his stories available online.

[UPDATE: Ron points to this helpful Ed Park profile. Today, I read the first four pages of The Dog of the South and laughed my head off. It looks like Portis may live up to the hype.]

Carol Shields’ stories are have been adapted for Canadian television. Sarah Polley makes her directing debut with one story. John Doyle suggests this might be the way to market dramatic television to Canadians.

Speaking of television, for those (like me), who don’t have cable or (unlike Peter Sellers) don’t watch, here’s the edited highlights of a conversation with John Updike. Updike writes 1,000 words every morning and says the great secret is “sitting ability.” Nothing new under the sun.


  1. Ron: A thousand thanks for that article, if only because it helped me in a small way to consider The Believer a little more. A noon run to the bookstore (with other matters in mind) indicated that the Overlook editions were indeed out, though I did not check the printing date. I read the first four pages of “The Dog of the South,” laughed my head off, and immediately put Portis near the top of my Authors to Read list.

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