Okay, so now you’ve published your first novel! And, better still, it’s highly acclaimed! Your picture’s in The New York Times! You may have even won a prestigious award! All of your dreams have come true!
Now all you have to do is repeat the process all over again, except now the likeliness of duplicating the first book’s impact, receiving the same accolades, and winning more awards is basically a fraction of what it was your initial go around—which, even then was pretty remote—and if you understandably fail to achieve these things (again), you’ll disappoint people you’d never asked to esteem you so highly in the first place—and here you thought you’d made it and were finally free from the thankless work of obscurity, but these people, the very ones who lifted you from anonymity, now seem to be almost deliberately forcing back down into it. Continue reading…
Here Be Dragons: On Literary Cartography | LA Review of Books
An essay-review of Andrew DeGraff’s beautiful and witty book of literary maps Plotted: A Literary Atlas for LA Review of Books: “For Plutarch, fiction was what was off the map, a land beyond the reach of historians with their “credit” and “certainty,” where the only “inhabitants are the poets and inventors of fables.” But, as DeGraff and others have shown, we can’t help charting that space, too, however imperfectly. Here’s another way to put it: maps describe places where people have already been in order to show others how to get there. Fiction is made of maps to places no one has ever seen, and when we all arrive at our destinations, none of us end up in the same place.”
I Am Radar by Reif Larsen | The Millions
Reif Larsen’s first novel The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet was a frustrating narrative wrapped in a beautiful work of art. Parts worked wonderfully, but many sections dragged along, and the confounding and ill-fitting finale was rushed. But the imagination of the novel is undeniable, as is the talent of its author, so it was with much interest that I embarked upon Larsen’s second effort, I Am Radar, a measurably better novel than T.S. Spivet, both for its leanness and its grandness. It’s an epic page-turner filled with small, tender moments of wonder.