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Posts Tagged ‘Zoe Heller’

The Hatchet Falls

January 9, 2013 | by

The Omnivore brings us the Hatchet Job of the Year Awards 2013. In their words, this pan-centric prize rewards “the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months” and “aims to raise the profile of professional critics and to promote integrity and wit in literary journalism.” View the shortlist here: few will be surprised to find Zoë Heller’s NYRB evisceration of Salman Rushdie’s Josef Anton, or that Naomi Woolf’s Vagina rated a few screeds. But who will win the year’s supply of potted shrimp? And has Adam Mars-Jones, 2012 winner for his Observer takedown of Michael Cunningham’s By Nightfall, done justice to his prize?




A Week in Culture: Sarah Burnes, Literary Agent, Part 2

November 4, 2010 | by

This is the second installment of Burnes’s culture diary. Click here to read part 1.


7:40 A.M. A little tired and wobbly this morning. Get up late …

8:20 A.M. … but this is OK. Littlest is in a great mood as we head out. We get the good bus that takes us just two blocks from school.

8:50 A.M. Perusing the paper when I finally get a seat on the subway. Lydia Peelle won a Whiting! She is so good. This is my favorite story.

10:40 A.M. Listen to a CD of a public-radio program, as its producer wants to do a big multimedia project, which sounds compelling. I think I may refer him to Kickstarter.

12:13 P.M. Off to lunch to meet my agents group, as Brian said—anyone who missed it this time needed a doctor’s note. Betsy isn’t there, though; I commend her blog to anyone interested in the writing life.

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Staff Picks: Zoë Heller, Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson

October 22, 2010 | by

Zoë Heller's savvy essay on Roald Dahl presents the enduring master of children's fiction (somewhat less enduring, though still somewhat masterly, in his writing for adults) as a perfect misanthrope:

At dinner parties, Dahl’s potent gifts of vituperation regularly sent fellow guests home early. He was once thrown out of a London gambling club for complaining at the top of his voice about the disgusting Jews who were spoiling the place. When his seventeen-year-old daughter Tessa accused him, accurately, of having an affair with Felicity Crosland, the family friend for whom he would later leave Neal, he berated her for being “a nosy little bitch.” He was forever bashing out bitter letters to his publishers and his agents, complaining about perceived slights to his authorial dignity. When he finally threatened to leave Knopf, his editor Robert Gottlieb was only too happy to show him the door. “Let me reverse your threat,” he wrote to Dahl. “Unless you start acting civilly to us, there is no possibility of our agreeing to publish you. Nor will I—or any of us—answer any future letter that we consider to be as rude as those we’ve been receiving.”
David Wallace-Wells

Eugène Guillevic called his charming 1967 book, Euclidiennes, a “somewhat peculiar bestiary.” Each short poem is a caption or ekphrasis for a geometrical figure: line, ellipse, cylinder, spiral. Some figures are apostrophized, others speak in their own voice, and the result is as witty as anything in La Fonatine. Here is “Tangent” (you remember, a straight line that touches a curvaceous line at just one point), expertly “Englished” by Richard Sieburth in the recently released Geometries: “I will only touch you once. / And it will only be in passing. // No use calling me back, / No use reminding. // You will have plenty of time / To rehearse and remember / This moment, // To convince yourself / We’ll never part.” —Robyn Creswell

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