Prufrock's Page

Friday, October 05, 2007

What Rushdie Is Reading

"A bunch of short stories. I’ve agreed to edit next year’s Best American Short Stories anthology. It’s a thankless task, I know. Everyone always hates what you choose, except the guys you choose, who think, Obviously." (Link.)

An Open Letter To Burma

"As citizens of the world, as artists valuing free expression, as people of Asian heritage, we write in support of the courageous Buddhist monks and nuns, and other people from all religions and walks of life in Burma, as they continue to seek peaceful change and national reconciliation...We demand an immediate end to the violence against protesters and a release of all political prisoners."

- From an open letter to Burma signed by, among others, Maxine Hong Kingston, Michael Ondaatje, Amitav Ghosh and Le Ly Hayslip.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Book Review Headline Of The Year

Phallus doesn't live here anymore.

(Brendan Bernhard's Salon review of Philip Roth's Exit Ghost.)

Death Sucks

Poor Theophile Marzials. Every now and again someone comes up with the bright idea of asking critics for their opinions on his poem, Death. The conclusion? "The worst poem ever." (Earlier post here.)

Claire In Canada

Claire Messud (The Emperor's Children) is quite clearly a U.S.-born and resident author. So what's she doing in the newly minted Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Nine-Year Chat With Roth

While there's plenty of Roth coverage out there nowadays, here's something a little more detailed: a conversation with French novelist Marc Weitzmann that started in 1998 and "continued for the next nine years".

You Can Say That Again

"Shashi Tharoor is a reliable ad man for what's starting to be called Brand India," is how Swati Pandey opens her review of his new book, The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone. (It seems to be an expanded version of the pieces that appear in The Sunday Times of India.)

Rushdie And The Overdog

Salman Rushdie spoke at Vanderbilt recently, reminding the audience of the role of literature: "However unimportant literature may seem, in the end it is literature that writes the history of our lives...It becomes more important than ever for art to become that space where human intimacy is preserved. The writer's role is not to answer the questions of the world but to frame the issues in interesting ways." Later, at dinner, he revealed that he was a Yankees fan: "I like the overdog".

Monday, October 01, 2007


The American short story is alive, says Stephen King. However, is it well? "Sorry, no, can’t say so. Current condition stable, but apt to deteriorate in the years ahead."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Amis On Writing

So Manchester University made headlines by appointing Martin Amis as their first Professor of Creative Writing. But what does the author himself think of writing courses? “My opinion of writing would go down if you could teach it, it’s something that comes naturally” he said, at a recent event at the university's Centre for New Writing. Inspiring.

Hatchet Jobs

Tibor Fischer did it to Martin Amis, Dale Peck did it to Rick Moody, Michiko Kakutani has done it to many, and now, William Dalrymple does it to Sir Vidia. (Also see.)

(The Nobel Prize-winner, meanwhile, wants all university English departments closed down. “Fiction has done its work,” he recently said to James Naughtie.)

Paper, Not Celluloid

"I am not interested in having inferior versions!"

- Lindsey Davis, on whether we'll be seeing film adaptations of her 'historical comic detective'series, set in the first century AD of the Roman Empire and featuring the delightful Marcus Didius Falco