Return of a Roth ... necessary reading ... rest, Peter

Of the Roth triumvirate (Philip, Joseph, and Henry), Henry usually gets overshadowed by the other two. After all, how can a maker of bildungsroman tales compete with portraits of a failing empire or the romantic uses of a piece of liver?

henry rothWell, the work of Henry Roth -- lyric chronicler of childhood in Call It Sleep -- will have yet another chance to snag more readers nearly twenty years after his death in 1995.

The top editor at W.W. Norton tells me that a single-volume version of Roth's epic, Mercy of a Rude Stream -- published as four books, A Star Shines Over Mt. Morris Park, A Diving Rock on the Hudson, From Bondage, and Requiem for Harlem -- is coming soon under one cover.

I can't say if this will be an edited, reimagined work in the same way that Peter Mathiessen retold his Watson trilogy as one book, Shadow Country, or Nicholas Delbanco revised and amplified his New England trilogy into Sherbrookes .... but let's just say that any opportunity to read Roth with fresh eyes and see his name (hopefully) prominently displayed in your local bookstore is welcome news.


Lijia Zhang offers some terrific commentary and posts from her blog perch in China on her eponymous blog, which sports the nice subtitle: "Socialism is still great." If you're contemplating writing a book of history and you want an unusual angle, you might check out Nicholas Griffin's Ping Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History BEhind the Game that Changed the World, which Lijia has recently reviewed.

How about political and cultural life in France? My friend and scrivener par excellence Kai Maristed sends dispatches from Paris in her Pointe DeVue: Paris that are worth a follow, an RSS feed, google get the idea. Though her most recent items offer the perfect overview of political scandals and the municipal elections that rebuffed a lazy, presumptuous Socialist Party in that country, my eye was drawn to "The President, the First Lady, and the #2 Mistress with the Mona Lisa Smile." How could it not? I'm sure yours will be too. (Just terrific, Kai!)


Rest in peace, Peter Mathiessen. There's so much and so little to say. Leave that to the newspapers. Thank you, simply, for your own work and for championing the work of others. I hope this day finds you, like the title of your last novel...



... "In Paradise."


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On the great, bad poetry of William McGonagall (at A University Blog)

Maester Class: HBO's Game of Thrones is Back (at Grantland)