Books

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Flavorwire Premiere: Watch the Acid Western Book Trailer for Colin Winnette’s ‘Haints Stay’

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Now that its arrival is only a matter of days away (June 2nd), it’s safe to say that Colin Winnette’s Haints Stay — a deconstructed Western praised by Sam Lipsyte, Saeed Jones, and Lindsay Hunter, among many others, and published by the unimpeachable Two Dollar Radio — is the most anticipated independent novel of the summer. And, frankly, it may be the most anticipated American independent novel since Sarah Gerard’s Binary Star (which we told you about several times and praised on its way to widespread acclaim). Certainly we’ve been thinking about Winnette’s book since January, when I called it “a work by an assured writer who is on the verge of something important” — Haints Stay proves he’s no longer on the verge.
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GONE GIRL, from left: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 2014. ph: Merrick Morton/TM & copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

The Inevitable Disappointment of “This Summer’s ‘Gone Girl'”

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For as long as there have been reviews and blurbs and publicists, the phrase “This summer’s [insert name of last year’s bestseller]” has been beguiling — and assaulting — readers from the catalogs and roundups that roll out around this time each year. In the aughts, for instance, wave after wave of empowered, transformative female characters set the standard against which other novels were marketed. In 2004 and 2005, any frothy, sartorial saga that hinted at the indignities of working as an underling was “This summer’s The Devil Wears Prada.” In 2006 and 2007, tales of ass-kicking punkettes on the fringes of society were inevitably “This summer’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” In 2008 and 2009, any woebegone memoir of triumph-through-travel was “This summer’s Eat, Pray, Love.” In 2009 and 2010, any injustices in small-town America were “This summer’s The Help.” And since then, every novel that hints at an unreliable narrator, that presupposes that marriage is not all hand-holding and dream-sharing, that lets a lady go off the rails and takes us along for the ride, is, of course, “This summer’s Gone… Read More

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Theater of Cruelty: The Strange American Reception of Nell Zink’s ‘Mislaid’

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Nell Zink’s second novel, Mislaid, announces her as one of a handful of the best novelists on the American scene. More satirical, willfully magisterial, and, yes, even earnest than The Wallcreeper — a debut that was far more earnest than even its admirers admit — Mislaid draws its immense humor and literary ingenuity from the postwar American South, that weird, melodramatic dispositif of class, race, and gender lines that strains to confine our lives even today. By the end of Mislaid, the satire dissolves into parody, or vice versa, leaving a cast of characters — of human animals in a habitat — who have rearranged their limitations, in a way that may offend many readers, in order to pursue better, shared lives.
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7 Great Books and Films About Female Artists, From ‘Sophie Stark’ Author Anna North

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Anna North’s new novel, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, examines the impact of a tenacious but difficult young filmmaker through the narration of those who loved her. “I really just imagined her as a filmmaker from the very beginning,” North says of Sophie, a character she’d been thinking about for years before she sat down to write the novel. “I was interested in having her be someone whose art draws from life.” But what North didn’t want was to write about a writer, so she chose to explore an art form that was visual and documentarian.

In an interview with Flavorwire, North shared her recommendations for books and films about female artists that she loves, many of which informed her thinking as she created Sophie and her troubled, compelling world.
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Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose Novels: The Fragile Redemption of a Mercilessly Examined Life

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“I was thinking that life is just the history of what we give our attention to,” says the title character of Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose Novels, just a few pages into the series’ fifth and final volume, 2012’s At Last. “The rest is packaging.” He is speaking to one of his recently deceased mother Eleanor’s silly (if sincere) friends from the New Age movement, but like most of the dialogue in these books, Patrick’s observation works on multiple levels. In this case, he’s also articulating a vital way of looking at St. Aubyn’s 20-year autobiographical fiction project, mercilessly examining his own personal history through the eyes of an equally exacting alter ego.
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17 Unrepentantly Trashy Beach Reads for 2015

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According to the National Ocean Service, almost 40 percent of the American population lives in a county located directly on a shoreline. If you then imagine America as a giant sanitation vehicle, and if you also figure that most Americans can read, then you arrive at a simple conclusion: we are all, in one way or another, human literary trashcans destined for the beach. With this in mind, here is a selection of the most interesting literary trash of 2015 so… Read More

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22 Thrilling, Imaginative, and Twisted Genre Books By Women

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Potboilers, fantasy lands, murders, noir triumphs, supernatural creatures, and the twisted, thrilling, and dark imaginations that devise them are hardly a male-only literary province. Since Mary Shelley imagined Frankenstein on a night in Switzerland, women have been creating genre fiction alongside men, playing with vampires, dragons, detectives, unreliable narrators, and denizens of outer space. So pack some of these classic genre novels by women in your canvas tote and enjoy reading them this summer at the beach, the pool, or just snuggled up to your air conditioning… Read More

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Stirring Images from the First Ever Illustrated Version of Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved is widely considered the greatest of all American novels published in last quarter of the 20th century, but, until now, it has never been released as an illustrated edition — this despite the effortless magic with which Morrison invokes (or provokes) her images of postbellum black life. Thankfully, The Folio Society has now released a moving, brilliantly illustrated version of Beloved, complete with an introduction by Russell Banks. Morrison chose Banks to write about the novel, and she also selected the novel’s gifted illustrator, Joe Morse, whose work you can see below. Flavorwire talked with Mr. Morse about his approach illustrating Morrison’s masterpiece.
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