Trolled by the Swedish Academy: Patrick Modiano’s Nobel Prize in Literature

This morning readers across America sighed with boredom and mild irritation as the Swedish Academy announced the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. Who? Patrick Modiano, a Frenchman who is definitely not J. M. G. Le Clézio or Michel Houellebecq. At first, I felt like I had been trolled by the Academy. If the winner was going to be a “surprise,” why not pick a younger writer? Kipling was only 42 when he won. Or, even better, why not award the Nobel to a writer on the basis of a single work? Hemingway won solely because of The Old Man and the Sea. Or just give it to Adonis already. … Read More

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Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig Make Out in Trailer for Roth Adaptation, ‘The Humbling’

Now that you’ve been sufficiently click-baited (but not deceptively: the mouths of Gerwig and Pacino do, indeed, commingle in… Read More

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‘Alice + Freda Forever’s’ Alexis Coe on a Shocking, Forgotten Case of Teenage Lesbian Murder

Karen Abbott, the author of the new Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War, and Alexis Coe, the author of Alice + Freda Forever, feel like historian soulmates: both women have done wonderful jobs in their respective books, two of fall’s best, reviving hidden stories of groundbreaking women from the 1800s (even if there’s a 30-year difference). Both books are immaculately researched and enticingly written, the sort that you’ll stay up all night reading with a flashlight under the covers. Coe previously interviewed Abbott for The Toast (where she is a columnist), so we wanted to see what would happen if Abbott interviewed Coe. Click through to read the resulting interview. … Read More

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9 Real-Life Women Who Would END Christian Grey

They just don’t make sadists like they used to. Whereas once we had the Marquis de Sade — whose work is currently the subject of not one but two exhibitions in Paris — the 21st century’s most prominent dominant is Christian friggin’ Grey, the sub-Patrick Bateman protagonist of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy. Grey is to bondage what Robert Pattinson is to vampires, and frankly, it’s hard to imagine his oh-so-mesmeric personality exerting a hold over any but the most basic bitches of BDSM. In deference to Sade, we amused ourselves thinking about some real-life women who would have Grey for breakfast. … Read More

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Patrick Modiano Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

69-year-old French author Patrick Modiano has, as the headline would suggest, been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (an… Read More

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David Sedaris is Doing a Reddit AMA

David Sedaris, author of Me Talk Pretty One DayDress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and most recently Let’s Explore Diabetes… Read More

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Maps Reimagine American Cities as Tolkien-esque Fantasylands

We all have our escapist fantasies. Some might live them out by going on, say, a Quilting or Saw-themed cruise (same crowd, really), some might steal away to an idyllic countryside Boot and Breakfast; others escape simply by re-imagining the places in which we live — and of which we so often tire — as fantastical settings. For example, in just about every city, it’s quite easy to translate Lord of the Rings locations to various neighborhoods: any city’s stagnant body of water/ mafia dumping-ground is obviously the Dead Marshes, any city’s mayoral office could be the Eye of Sauron, and any junior high could be that muddy mess where the Uruk-Hai are made. … Read More

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“No Comment”: Getting to Know the Shadowy Oddsmaker for the Nobel Prize in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced tomorrow. Who will win? Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (7/2)? Haruki Murakami (9/2)? Bob Dylan (25/1)? I’m pretty sure it will be Adonis (10/1), but, then again, I’ve been saying that for years. Recent statements, like this from one of the judges, suggest you’d do well to put your money on an African or Asian writer. Or someone who has never enrolled in an MFA course in creative writing. Or just anyone who isn’t American. … Read More

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