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Posts Tagged ‘James Wood’

Jonathan Lethem Responds to James Wood Review

In a new Los Angeles Review of Books essay, Jonathan Lethem expressed his disappointment in a review by book critic James Wood.

Wood dissected The Fortress of Solitude in a 2003 New Republic review, prompting Lethem (pictured, via) to write him a private letter. He received a short note back, and eight years later, responded to the letter with a public essay about the review. What do you think?

Check it out: “Wood, in 4,200 painstaking words, couldn’t bring himself to mention that my characters found a magic ring that allowed them flight and invisibility. This, the sole distinguishing feature that put the book aside from those you’d otherwise compare it to (Henry Roth, say). The brute component of audacity, whether you felt it sank the book or exalted it or only made it odd. These fantastic events hinge the plot at several points, including the finale — you simply couldn’t not mention this and have read the book at all. Or rather, you couldn’t unless you were Wood.”

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FSG Editor Lorin Stein Tapped as Editor for The Paris Review

parisreviewcopy.jpgToday The Paris Review board announced that Farrar, Straus and Giroux editor Lorin Stein will replace Philip Gourevitch as the editor of the beloved literary journal. He starts in April.

37-year-old Stein has been a Farrar, Straus and Giroux editor since 1998, working with writers like Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, and James Wood. Titles he edited have won a slew of prizes, including the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Believer Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Here’s a Litblog Co-op interview and here’s a New York interview with the celebrated editor.

Here’s a statement from Stein: “The Paris Review is an institution like nothing else in American letters … It stands for the newest, the best, the most daring in writing and art, and that’s been the case now for more than fifty years. To be entrusted with that tradition is a true honor.”

The complete release is embedded after the jump.

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NPR Host Guy Raz Introduces Three-Minute Fiction Contest

guyraz.jpgLast year NPR counted more than 10,000 entries in their Three-Minute Fiction contest. This year, GalleyCat got a sneak peek at the third installment of the writing contest.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Guy Raz is the weekend host of NPR News’ signature newsmagazine show, All Things Considered. In addition to talking about his work on All Things Considered, Raz shared information about this year’s installment of the show’s popular writing challenge.

Press play on the embedded player below to listen. The show will be archived around the mediabistro.com network as well.

To find out more about the contest, visit the Three-Minute Fiction contest post. When asked for advice about submissions, Raz spoke about the editorial vision of the previous year’s judge–the great New Yorker critic and novelist, James Wood.

Here’s some advice: “Wood was really looking for a moment. He liked stories that were enigmatic, the last winner for the last round sort of suggested an unsolved mystery. James was looking for a writer to suggest a world, rather than fill every moment, dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t.’ It doesn’t have to be a narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It could be a moment–something that almost takes you to that place. Something that’s so evocative that you can’t escape from it.”

Writing about Love in Iran

iranianlove.jpgAs Iran muzzled journalists and forced a media blackout this week, the New Yorker gives readers a glimpse of the country in a review of Shahriar Mandanipour‘s new novel, “Censoring an Iranian Love Story.”

As James Wood explains in his thoughtful essay, the postmodern novel follows the forbidden interaction between two young lovers, the text literally censored with snippets of strike-through text. The characters flit between cemeteries, hospitals, and political rallies, trying to love in the shadow of an oppressive regime.

Here’s more from the review: “How might one write a love story about a young man and woman, set in a country in which the unmarried couple is not allowed to spend any significant time together? At the beginning of ‘Censoring an Iranian Love Story,’ two Tehran natives, Dara and Sara, meet at a student demonstration outside Tehran University, and spend the next two hundred and eighty pages attempting not so much to consummate their relationship as simply to begin it.” (Via Literary Saloon)