Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Failure of the Day: May’s Might

As though all that new music weren’t enough, this spring is also blooming with new books that are just quivering with promise.

The latest Sherman Alexie book, Flight, is a young adult novel that is, in part, an homage to Slaughterhouse 5, as if I needed more reasons to love Sherman Alexie. It’s terrifically moving and should be required reading for every 15-year-old boy in America, only it won’t be because Alexie for some reason chose to sprinkle the text liberally with fucks and motherfuckers, so it can’t be taught in schools. I get that that’s how the character would actually speak, but it's a terrible shame nevertheless, I think, that it is relegated to being the book your cool uncle gives you rather than something more readily available.

I didn’t keep up with Michael Chabon’s foray into genre fiction, so he hasn’t put out anything new for me since Summerland, which was good, but no Kavalier & Clay. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (out May 1) seems to be skating on the genre fiction/literature divide, but I’m willing to chance it.

And god bless America, shockingly soon after Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, which already was right on the heels of the wonderful Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami’s latest, After Dark, comes out May 8. So! Excited! Of the May releases, this is totally the one I’ll read first. No idea what it’s about, except that there will be a missing woman and probably, some sheep.

And finally, the new Don DeLillo novel, Falling Man, is due May 15. DeLillo intimidates me, big genius and all that, and I haven’t read his back catalogue except for White Noise and The Body Artist, both of which I liked very much and probably didn’t really understand. But it’s not like we have such a surplus of contemporary American literary genius that I can afford to ignore more than the ones I am already ignoring, to my great and lasting shame.


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