Is design an organizing principle of your collection, The Muse? Are the stories in thematic conversation, and in direct conversation as well?
I love design. But I love it as an aficionado. An amateur. And I’m obsessed with aesthetics. And the way in which art making is in dialogue with aesthetics. So my collection is circling around those themes. I have one story about an artist’s muse. Another about a quartet. Another about two painters. Another about a model. Another about a critic. I think they all speak to each other, but they are also simply stories about people, you know? I’m hesitant about declaring one’s own themes as a writer. Sometimes I believe your work is merely a chronological and distorted reflection of you. And you’re lucky if something else emerges from that.
I think this is my first flirtation with being on television ever since I was followed by a Japanese documentary crew in the fifth grade. Go to around 2:20!
An interview I did for The Daily:
In her new novel, “The Age of Miracles,” Karen Thompson Walker imagines a scenario in which the planet’s rotation slows, resulting in chaos and calamity. As the possible end of the world goes on around her, Julia, the story’s 12-year-old narrator, lives her life in all its tender, adolescent normalcy. Walker spoke to The Daily about the book and the real-life disasters that helped shape her story.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times — but how did you come up with the idea to have Earth slow its rotation? I got the idea from something that actually happened. In 2004, following the earthquake in Indonesia, the one that caused the tsunami, I read that the earthquake was so strong that it also affected the rotation of the Earth. After that, our 24-hour days were a fraction of a second shorter than they used to be. Even though the change was slight, I found it really unsettling to hear that something I had always taken for granted — the predictable rising and setting of the sun — was actually in flux. I began to wonder right away what would happen, and how we would react, if a larger shift ever took place.
Guest-Editing at The Paris Review Daily
This past week, I guest-edited The Daily, the blog at The Paris Review that I once used to run. (It’s now in the very wonderful hands of Sadie Stein, and I couldn’t be happier.) But I’m also quite proud of what we ran that week. Check out my interview with Sheila Heti, drunk texts from famous authors, a serious look at Justin Bieber’s manhood, a Bolano parody, a touching essay about Ann Beattie, a breakdown of how to wear Prada, Maggie Shipstead’s life aboard the Queen Mary 2, a photograph of a haunted house, and lots more.
I’ll be at the first roundtable to help kick things off! We’ll be talking about zines in the digital age. Mmm. Yummy Momofuku lunch.
inspired by the algonquin round table of the 1920s, má pêche and the new york public library, one of our favorite midtown institutions, are hosting a series called the 56th st round table. we’re bringing together our favorite writers, editors, curators and artists to discuss current issues and topics in arts & culture at the mezzanine of chambers hotel. after each talk, guests will continue the conversation with the speakers over lunch, prepared by chef paul carmichael and the má pêche team.
in the 1920s, a group of writers, critics and actors met daily for lunch at the algonquin hotel in midtown to collaborate and share ideas. the algonquin round table were one of the most celebrated literary circles in american literature. think of them as the og tastemakers. above are photos from the nypl’s digital archives of some of the more notable members. join us for the first 56th st round table on friday, june 29: renaissance of zines in the digital age.
I visited Leanne Shapton at her studio.
I talked to The Setup about my hardware and software.
My review of A Mountain of Crumbs for The New Yorker’s Briefly Noted.