Supporting roles

I recently had the honor of offering advance praise for Andrew Martin’s new story collection Cool for America, coming out from Farrar Straus Giroux on July 7:

Overeducated and undermined, the women and men in Andrew Martin’s stories fortify themselves with beer, weed, intensely felt verdicts about music and literature, and messing around with people they probably shouldn’t be messing around with. Martin’s prose is as melancholy and ruthless as Raymond Carver’s, and his wit is as dark and sharp as Mary Robison’s or Donald Antrim’s.

Order a copy from your favorite indie bookseller now!

This past Tuesday, I had an electronically mediated conversation, hosted by Brooklyn’s Community Bookstore, with Donald Nicholson-Smith about his new translation of Serge Pey’s new story collection Treasure of the Spanish Civil War, just out from Archipelago Books. The conversation was recorded and is now streamable.

A long time ago—maybe a year ago? in another lifetime, at any rate—I was interviewed by writer Barbara Nichol for a radio show about reading that she was producing for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She tapped me for some of the sociology and neurology that I reported on for The New Yorker more than a decade ago—reporting that I updated a couple of years ago. Her show is now streamable online, in three segments, each about an hour long: part one, part two, and part three. I don’t have a large role—a one-sentence cameo in part two, and a paragraph or two in part three—but it’s an interesting listen.

A memoir of two lost worlds

I blurbed the New York Review Books classics reprint of Salka Viertel’s memoir The Kindness of Strangers, which goes on sale today:

Thank goodness Greta Garbo encouraged her confidante Salka Viertel to write. With cameos by Kafka, Sarah Bernhardt, Eisenstein, Schoenberg, and Isherwood, Viertel’s memoir is humane, lightly ironic, and dizzyingly entertaining. It’s a portrait of two lost worlds—the pre-Hitler German-speaking stage and the pre-CGI Hollywood—as well as the story of a actress and screenwriter who all her life was bold in love and passionate for the arts.