John le Carré is publishing his twenty-fifth novel

I have always admired John le Carré. Not always without envy – so many bestsellers! – but in wonderment at the fact that the work of an artist of such high literary accomplishment should have achieved such wide appeal among readers. That le Carré, otherwise David Cornwell, has chosen to set his novels almost exclusively in the world of espionage has allowed certain critics to dismiss him as essentially unserious, a mere entertainer. But with at least two of his books, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) and A Perfect Spy (1986), he has written masterpieces that will endure.

Source: ‘My ties to England have loosened’: John le Carré on Britain, Boris and Brexit | Books | The Guardian

I admire any author who can endure. I haven’t read all of le Carré’s novels, but a fair few. And, at 87, I think we can say he has endured.

I was in college when I read The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. I wished that had been one of the novels that we discussed in class, but we were busy talking about novels written a hundred years earlier.

When the cold war with the Soviet Union ended, I wondered what he would do. As it turns out, he had more stories to tell. Since I am not prolific, I admire writers who are prolific and turn out good stuff.

Malcolm

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell author to return after 16-year gap  

Sixteen years after readers were introduced to the magical world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke is to publish her second novel.

Out in September next year, Clarke’s Piranesi will follow the story of its eponymous hero, who lives in the House, a building with “hundreds if not thousands of rooms and corridors, imprisoning an ocean. A watery labyrinth.” Occasionally, he sees his friend, The Other, who is doing scientific research into “A Great and Secret Knowledge”.

Source: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell author to return after 16-year gap | Books | The Guardian

I liked  Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell along with a related ser of short stories. Now, finally, Clarke is releasing a new novel. But it’s a year away. How cruel. Get everyone excited and then make them wait.

She writes slower than Donna Tartt who’s released three novels since 1992. Both of them seem to be following the old-style approach to writing, taking a while to write each book rather than churning out Two or three novels a year like many novelists do these days.

I’ll be looking forward to this one.

Malcolm

My Glacier National Park novel “Mountain Song” is free on Kindle through October 1.

Best Books of the Century (already!)

The Guardian has already come out with a list of the best books of the 21st century. (Dazzling debut novels, searing polemics, the history of humanity and trailblazing memoirs … Read our pick of the best books since 2000).

Er, isn’t it a bit early for such pronouncements?

I’m not surprised to see this, for every year, everyone and their brother comes out with a best books of the year list about August or September–like no books are published in the fall that could possibly be worthy of consideration. (I’ll spare you my usual rant about that practice.)

Looking at the past ten years, I think they’ve got a fair number of great books. Needless to say, they consider major publishers and let the rest of the industry’s output go unmentioned.

Yet, for a list like this, maybe they should have waited until 2050 for a look of the best books so far as of that point.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of Eulalie and Washerwoman, a 1950s struggle between a conjure woman and a man who runs a gambling operation called policy.

The novel is available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardback.

 

 

This is a great time for writing by women – so why are we still considered second-rate?

“Do men learn from women? Often. Do they admit it publicly? Rarely, even today. Let’s stick to literature. No matter how hard I try, I can’t think of many male writers who have said that they were in any way indebted to the work of a woman writer.”

Source: This is a great time for writing by women – so why are we still considered second-rate? | Life and style | The Guardian

This essay by Elena Ferrante asks timely questions: are male writers ever influenced by female writers? When a male writer likes a female writer’s book, does he think it’s “good for a female writer” or good with the arena of all books?

Personally, I don’t see fiction or nonfiction written by women as second-class work. Apparently, a lot of people do–and perhaps some publishers and bookstores as well. What a shame.

–Malcolm

P.S. Click here to enter my GoodReads giveaway for a paperback of “Lena,” the third novel in the Florida Folk Magic trilogy.