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This category contains 15 posts

Where Wild Things linger

Herman, the Alsatian named after Melville, is gone, and strictly speaking, his owner has been dead for five years, too, and can no longer be brought cake or go for a walk in the woods. His friends picture him at the kitchen table making up stories, and refrain from sitting in his seat.

Peter Carey puts Australia on trial

“The landscape of colonialism is very clear in Australia,” Carey says. “There’s the Aboriginal people, and there’s the successes of those of us who’ve discovered that we’re the benefactors of a genocide, which is not exactly a nice thing to wake up to in the morning.”

Manhattan Beach: Jennifer Egan’s deepest dive

“I did not know for sure that I would be able to write a book,” she told me. “I felt like I was faking it, and that was really unpleasant. There was so much I didn’t know.”

An afternoon with Joyce Carol Oates

“I’m much more politicised than I had been. Immediately all I can do is send out tweets,” she says. “I think novels have to be timeless.”

Colson Whitehead: a reckoning years in the making.

Whitehead mockingly suggested the Southern Novel of Black Misery as a promising genre for writers short of inspiration. At talks and signings, he derided slave narratives as a played out trope, knowing there was a scrap of paper in his drawer that would expose him as a hypocrite.

Skating on thin ice with George Saunders

“I don’t want to be that guy who goes to his grave saying ‘I was going to write harder stuff but there weren’t enough jokes.’”

There she snows! A lock-in with Moby Dick

“Unlike that other ending, we will defeat this white whale of a storm,” the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s President, James Russell, declared. “Let us begin the greatest sea story ever told. Watch Officer, give me eight bells.”

Why Michael Lewis doesn’t trust his gut.

“You know what I really don’t look the part of? An author,” he says. “I look the part of a carefree Southern lawyer. You’re supposed to be troubled and unhappy and difficult and all the rest when you’re a writer. And I really don’t fit that stereotype… I’m actually a superficial, happy person, and I happen to do this.”

Small bombs, short fuse: Karan Mahajan’s India

The Association Of Small Bombs is a panorama of the bigotry and bureaucracy of contemporary India, written in voluntary exile. It takes the victims and their families, the terrorists and the falsely accused, and hurls them against each other in “Delhi – baked in exquisite concrete shapes… Delhi – flat, burning, mixed-up, smashed together from pieces of tin and tarpaulin.”

Literary Black Lives Matter: Angela Flournoy

Published in the Age on July 22, 2016. “A book about race is any book with people in it in this country.” This is the last line on the tape, although not quite the last thing Angela Flournoy said. Something about the succinctness of it, the finality, told me to turn off the recorder. It […]