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Posts Tagged ‘Tom McCarthy’

Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays, by Zadie Smith

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 24 April 2011

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 Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith

Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays (2009) (Collection of essays) by Zadie Smith (White Teeth (2000), The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005), and numerous essays for The Guardian, The New Yorker and other newspapers and magazines).

With essays on Hepburn and Garbo, to David Foster Wallace, from an Academy Award weekend in Los Angeles to E.M. Forster, Roland Barthes, Vladimir Nabokov, Tom McCarthy and a great deal more, and with a tone from travel documentary to insightful literary analysis, and most everything in between, Zadie Smith has offered us the opportunity to see how her mind works, and how she not only permits herself to change it, but even makes that her motto, shall we say.  There’s some very good writing here, and some, on the other hand, a bit difficult to get through, but well worth the effort required.  Smith can be extraordinarily perceptive, subtle, keen, as well as, perhaps, naively hopeful, even silly, and that, in itself, is marvelous and refreshing, intellectually challenging and agreeably human.

Her long essay on David Foster Wallace, entitled “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: The Difficult Gifts of David Foster Wallace” is honestly excellent. (PR)

See our previous post on Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace and Tom McCarthy, entitled “The Last Audit – Review of David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” by Tom McCarthy“, here.

Smith prefaces her book, which is dedicated to her father, with the two following quotes:

“The time to make your mind up about people is never!” (Tracy Lord, played by Katherine Hepburn, in The Philadelphia Story (1940), also starring Cary Grant and James Stewart; directed by George Cukor.)

“You get to decide what to worship.”  (David Foster Wallace)

Pankaj Mishra’s review of Changing My Mind – Occasional Essays, entitled “Other Voices, Other Selves” in the Sunday Book Review section of The New York Times, here.

Peter Conrad’s review of Smith’s book in The Guardian is aptly titled “Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith” and is found, here.

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

image: Wikipedia

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Posted in Book Reviews, culture, Education, film, General, Language, Links, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Last Audit – Review of David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” by Tom McCarthy

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace, “a coherent, if incomplete, portrayal of our age unfolding on an epic scale”, or…

image: Illustration by Peter Mendelsund/The New York Times

Tom McCarthy, the British author (and, conceptual artist!) (his novels include the fascinating Remainder (2007), and the somewhat challenging C (2010)) has written a very interesting, and perhaps Wallace-ian, review of The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, in the Sunday Book Review section of The New York Times.  One could have the impression that McCarthy has read Zadie Smith’s essay Two Directions for the Novel, in her collection of essays entitled Changing My Mind (2009)(marvelous, astute essays definitely worth slogging through reading), in which she discusses, among other things, the authors Franz Kafka, Alain Robbe-Grillet, David Foster Wallace and, yes, Tom McCarthy; he, too, seems to admire the complications of the contemporary world.  Or is it that he, too, appreciates clarity?

In any case, McCarthy’s excellent review of Wallace’s The Pale King is really quite, hmmm, enjoyable.

Read our previous posts on David Foster Wallace and The Pale King, David Foster Wallace – Piecing Together a Posthumous Novel, The Pale King; The Pale King – David Foster Wallace & the Staggering, Multifarious, Cacophonous Predicament; A Self-Help Reader for David Foster Wallace

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Posted in Book Reviews, Conceptual Art, culture, General, Language, Links, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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