Just imagine for a moment that you have the most useless job in the world: to set up a list of painful and impossible theses for literary critics to explore. The top of your torture list of prospective titles might read a lot like Joseph Tabbi’s new book, “Nobody Grew but the Business: On the Life and Work of William Gaddis.”
Fall is here and the roads are clear. Maybe it’s time to take a straight midweek shot down the highway to the graduate school ghost of Southampton College, the geographical mouthful Stony Brook Southampton, to give a listen to two important American novelists, Jane Hamilton and Ann Packer, as they open the off-season’s Writers Speak series.
In “The Prize,” Jill Bialosky’s absorbing new novel, the focus is on an invented protagonist, Edward Darby, a dealer in contemporary art, a middleman devoted to the work he represents. Although the New York City gallery he runs, but doesn’t own, must turn a profit to survive, Edward’s commitment is more idealistic than materialistic.
Walter Donway lives in East Hampton. “My House” is included in the “Long Island Sounds” poetry anthology for 2015, published by the North Sea Poetry Scene. Its release will be celebrated with a reading on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Briarcliffe College’s Patchogue campus.
In this beautifully wrought, rather romantic memoir, the renowned literary critic Morris Dickstein recounts the tale of a quintessential American journey. It is a story that begins in a loving, happy, but strictly monitored Orthodox Jewish household on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Geography matters. An author chooses to weave a tale of mayhem, suspense, and fear. What better setting than a remote hamlet, surrounded mostly by water, where there is a lot of open land and where it grows very dark at night?
Surfing journalism and literature are pretty thin. But there are notable exceptions: A Patagonia-financed film, “The Fisherman’s Son,” is a powerful story of how surfing empowered a Chilean environmental crusader.
With notable exceptions, most surf writing and storytelling has appealed exclusively to surfers. The sometimes kitschy insider stuff, the you-wish-you-here-but-you’re-not magazine articles, even the iconic “Endless Summer,” most of it is of limited interest beyond the growing tribe.
It is a quintessentially New York novel (and shameless urban chauvinist that I am, I really mean a Manhattan novel in much the same way that Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” was a Manhattan movie). It is Jewish, intellectual, Upper West Side, arty, upper middle class, Hamptons-y, and deeply concerned with psychoanalysis.
Hunt & Light, a poetry publisher out of East Hampton and Brooklyn, is dedicated to advancing the work of young poets. On Saturday at 5 p.m., this will be manifested in the appearance of one Esther Mathieu at Harbor Books, the still-new shop on Main Street in Sag Harbor.
The assignment to review Arlene Alda’s “Just Kids From the Bronx: Telling It The Way It Was” left me a bit cranky. “Isn’t she a children’s book author?” I thought. After a quick look at her Wikipedia page, I was reminded that Ms. Alda is the author of 15 children’s books, many of them prize winners and one a best seller.