Prufrock's Page

Friday, October 07, 2005

A New Yorker Sandwich

Christopher Borrelli of The Toledo Blade (love that name) is a trifle disconcerted by The Complete New Yorker, the eight-DVD set that contains every single article, cartoon, short story and advertisement ever to be published in that magazine:

"In an essay included with The Complete New Yorker, editor David Remnick marvels at how everything ever published in the magazine since its rocky debut in February of 1925 amounts to 'a stack of disks no thicker than the grilled-cheese-and-tomato sandwich at your neighborhood diner.' What he's modest about is what those disks contain: Install the first and you get a virtual replica of the mag's in-house filing system. Poke around for a few minutes and again - you'll want to nap.

"Not from boredom.

"From the sheer possibilities.

"...If there's anything missing in The Complete New Yorker, it's the details of its long, strange, landmark history - only referenced in a bare bones timeline included in a companion book. That a book comes with this set at all - full of reproductions of stories and covers from the magazine - is an admission that no digital archive can completely substitute for the joy of curling up with the actual glossy edition and losing yourself in a subject you thought you never cared about."

Et Tu Jeanette?

One of the after-effects of the Harry Potter phenomenon is that everyone, from Isabel Allende to Paul McCartney, suddenly woke up to the fact that writing books for "young adults" could be a paying proposition. The latest name to add to that list is none other than Jeanette Winterson, says The Independent:

"Jeanette Winterson is at work on a children's novel, due next summer. Tanglewreck is a 'time-slip adventure story' that Winterson began telling first to herself, then to her godchildren. Bloomsbury is not dubbing it a 'crossover' novel but feels confident it will appeal to her adult audience."

It's not a "crossover" novel, but they're confident it'll appeal to adults? The ways of the publishing world are getting even more mysterious.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Boris, Those Yankees Are Stealing Our Soul

"What I'm doing is writing a Russian novel. There are no Russians in it. It's not set in Russia."

- E. L. Doctorow defines his new novel, The March.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Auster On Fire

Paul Auster: metaphysical poseur, or impossibly cool and zeitgeist-attuned?

While the jury debates that one, the so-called Bard of Brooklyn seems to have hit a hot streak. There was his involvement with National Public Radio's National Story Project in 2001; The Book of Illusions in 2002; Oracle Night in 2003; and now, there's another book on its way, entitled The Brooklyn Follies.

As he says in a telephonic conversation with the Buffalo News: "This is a very fertile time for me. I've got this tremendous urge to do things. I feel like I'm on fire."

He continues: "You certainly can't write with the idea of making money or achieving some kind of glory in the world. You do it because you have to.No matter how much success you have, you always face the same anxieties....Whatever I've accomplished in the past means nothing when I sit down to write a new book. It never gets easy to write and if it were easy, there would be no enjoyment. It's the struggle that makes writing worthwhile."


Stella Strong, Girl Detective

A new book examines America's favourite teenage sleuth, Nancy Drew:

"It's long been known that - despite the name on the books' spines - there was no Carolyn Keene. In fact, it was a man who dreamed up the young detective. In 1929 Edward Stratemeyer - creator of the Hardy Boys and the Bobsey Twins - pitched a detective series for girls to his publishers. Stella Strong, he suggested, 'a girl of sixteen' would be 'an up-to-date American girl at her best, bright, clever, resourceful and full of energy.' "

The name was later changed to Nancy Drew (thank goodness) and the team of writers who constituted the pseudonym "Carolyn Keene" went on to win many avowed fans -- and not just in the USA:

"In translation, Nancy has gone global. The Swedish call her 'Kitty Drew' and the French 'Alice Roy.' A member of the Hungarian resistance recalled consuming a Nancy Drew book each day while hiding in bomb shelters."

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Origin Of Holly Golightly

Almost as though to time it for the release of the movie, the manuscript of an early Truman Capote novel, supposed to have been destroyed, has now been discovered.

Entitled Summer Crossing, it features socialite Grady McNeil, who, according to Random House, is extremely similar to the woman made famous by the enchanting Ms Audrey Hepburn.

Grady McNeil? Doesn't quite have the same ring as Holly Golightly, does it?