Vernon God Little, Zadie Smith, Roth adaptation, Freudenberger

Here’s a passage from DBC Pierre’s Vernon God Little:

…I’m led up the stairs into the mostly empty courtroom, where the guard maneuvers me into a small wooden corral, with a fence around it. It’s almost possible to be brave in here, if you add up your Nikes, your Calvin Kleins, your youth, and your actual innocence. What shunts you over the edge is the smell. Court smells like your first-grade classroom; you automatically look around for finger-paintings. I don’t know if it’s on purpose, like to regress you and freak you out. Truth be told, there’s probably an air-freshener for courtrooms and first-grade classrooms, just to keep you in line. ‘Guilt-O-Sol’ or something, so in school you feel like you’re already in court, and when you wind up in court you feel like you’re back in school. You’re primed for finger-paintings, but what you get is a lady behind one of those sawn-off typewriters. Court, boy. Fuck.

Zadie Smith considers the relationship of contemporary writers to Kafka’s legacy:

Kafka makes novelists nervous. He doesn’t seem to write like the rest of us. Either he is too good for the novel or the novel is not quite good enough for him–whichever it is, his imitators are very few.


Our Girl in Chicago is a permanent fixture now at About Last Night. She quotes from and discusses a Wall Street Journal article in which John Lippmann reports on “the disappointing reception the adaptation of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain met with at the Toronto Film Festival last month, and the attendant nervous scurrying of its marketers at Miramax.”

OGIC also links to Jennifer Howard’s lukewarm but mostly negative review of Freudenberger’s Lucky Girls, saying Howard persuasively “pegs the stories as New Yorker Lite.”

The Literary Saloon rounds up some articles critical of J.M. Coetzee’s work.

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