Sunday Reading: Writers at Work
With The New Yorker Annual fiction issue hitting newsstands this week, not to mention smart phones and computer screens, we’ll whet your appetite with extraordinary portraits of literary artists at work.
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In 2014, Ian Parker published “Inheritance”, a profile of Edward St. Aubyn, a contemporary British novelist whose life combined great privilege, appalling abuses and miserable excesses, all of which became the incendiary material of his art. In “Three Journeys”, Janet Malcolm considers the dramatic life and fiction of Anton Chekhov through her own extensive reading and tracing his travels through Russia. In “Middlemarch and Me,” Rebecca Mead takes George Eliot’s wise and voluminous novel as a kind of guide, moral and intellectual, to achieving a meaningful adult life. In “A Society of One”, Claudia Roth Pierpont explores the literary and academic legacy of Zora Neale Hurston. Finally, in “Ishmael Reed Gets the Last Laugh”, Julian Lucas paints the portrait of a superb satirist, novelist, literary swindler and multiculturalist. “There has always been more to Reed than subversion and caricature,” Lucas writes. “The laughter, in his books, unearths legacies suppressed by prejudice, elitism, and mass media co-optation.”