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Elena Ferrante Unmasked: This Week in Books

The Exposing of Elena Ferrante

For the past several years, Ferrante has been the darling of literary fiction. Her quartet of books known has The Neopolitan Novels have sold exceptionally well, especially for fiction in translation. And her real identity (Elena Ferrante is a pen-name) has been the subject of rumor and speculation.

But last week, The New York Review of Books published an investigation that seems to have discovered her real identity. The tone and attitude, not to mention the intrusion into her financial records, though, have much of the literary world unhappy with the NYRB. I have to say I agree. Ferrante is now a genuine literary figure, and as such is part of history. In due time, I think knowing who she was would have been an inevitable part of literary history, but how and why and when we do history matters. In this regard, the NYRB doesn’t seem like an historian, it seems like paparazzi.
New Dan Brown Novel Coming in Fall 2017

Dan Brown announced last week that his next novel, called Origin, will be published in September 2017. It will again feature Robert Langdon, this time involving a plot that will center on humankind’s “two biggest questions.” Presumably, one of those questions will be about something in the area of the origin of the universe and/or humans. You don’t, however, need to be a symbologist to figure out that it will also be about history, art, and a series of delightfully implausible clues.

 

The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35

Each year, the National Book Foundation honors five debut novelists under the age of 35 who show exceptional promise. The cash value of the award is only $1,000, but what it provides in status is incalculable. And it is always an extremely interesting list. This year’s honorees are:

Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers
Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing
Greg Jackson, author of Prodigals
S. Li, author of Transoceanic Lights
Thomas Pierce, author of Hall of Small Mammals


 

This week in books is sponsored by Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig.

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