Arts

Arts and culture

David Joy's new novel The Line That Held Us begins with a terrible accident.

Darl Moody is looking to poach a deer in the woods, when he accidentally kills another man — Carol Brewer, who is himself poaching for ginseng roots. Both are "working-class rural people who are just kind of doing what they have to do in order to survive," as David Joy says in an interview.

'Baghdad Noir' Presents A City Of Diverse Experiences

Aug 12, 2018

Just when you think the Noir Series from Akashic Books has gone everywhere — Lagos, Montana, and earlier this year, Prague — editors Tim McLoughlin and Johnny Temple (the publisher of Akashic) find a new city or country or locale. The latest entry, Baghdad Noir, edited by Samuel Shimon, identifies neighborhoods and places in which the stories happen, with a frontispiece map showing city districts.

Perhaps best known for his novel A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul was a controversial figure in the literary world. The Nobel Prize-winning writer died on Saturday at his London home, the author's agent confirms to NPR. He was 85.

His wife Nadira Naipaul, who was at his side when he passed, said he was "a giant in all that he achieved and he died surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavor," The Associated Press reports.

A new movie from director Spike Lee has a premise that's almost impossible to believe.

It's 1978 and a black police detective in Colorado Springs, Colo., manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. He not only gets a membership card straight from Grand Wizard David Duke, but he's also asked to lead a local chapter because he's everything they are looking for — loyal, smart and a true believer.

He establishes a relationship with David Duke over the phone. And for meetings in person, he recruits a white co-worker to go in his place.

First, Nell Stevens wrote Bleaker House, a memoir about failing to write a novel. Now, in The Victorian and the Romantic, she has written a memoir about struggling to write her doctoral dissertation.

Writing about how writing is hard tends to be solipsistic and dreary, but these procrastination-born books have, instead, a kind of truant charm — like they know they should really be the other, more serious thing, the great work, but we're all here now so we may as well go get a drink.

This week we recorded our show in Chicago's Millennium Park, and invited Illinois native Jeff Tweedy to play our quiz. As a kid Tweedy lied about knowing how to play the guitar, but he must have figured it out eventually because he went on to form the bands Uncle Tupelo and Wilco.

Tweedy will play a game called "A Yankee, a hotel, and a foxtrot" — three questions about the namesakes of one of Wilco's most beloved albums.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

When we first meet Yi Jin, the lithe heroine of Kyung-Sook Shin's atmospheric, tragic novel The Court Dancer translated by Anton Hur, she stands at a ship's helm beside "a tall Frenchman, his pale face covered in a mustache," while she holds "a hat embroidered with roses and a coat to wear later when the wind blew," with a "light blue dress that rustled like lapping waves." That last image is appropriate, since Jin is gazing out on the ocean for the first time.

Ling Ma was in the last months of a tedious office job when she began writing her first novel. The company was downsizing, and as her coworkers got laid off, the office became "silent and desolate," Ma recalls.

Eventually Ma lost her job, too. The first few weeks were liberating — she called her unemployment check her "arts fellowship" — and she turned her attention to her debut novel.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Most summer movies tell a pretty straightforward story. "Madeline's Madeline" is a little different. Where it's going isn't complicated, but critic Bob Mondello says it toys with the viewer's perceptions every step of the way.

To tell how the nation's first black beer festival came to be held in Pittsburgh, you might start with a beer.

Maybe it was that introductory Sam Adams Boston Lager that longtime Michelob and Heineken guy Mike Potter drank more than a decade ago. "It had a completely different profile, a completely different taste, you know, completely different aroma," he says. "It just elevated my curiosity."

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