In this lively collection of 37 essays, novelist (Painting Death) and translator Parks, who is also one of the most eloquent and provocative critics, explores a range of topics in contemporary literature and publishing in essays with titles such as “Do We Need Stories?,” “The Dull New Global Novel,” “Does Money Make Us Better Writers?,” “Why Readers Disagree,” and “Translating in the Dark.” Parks ponders the ways that translating a text challenges both readers and translators, observing that the act of moving a text from one language to another allows for better understanding of it. Elsewhere, he points out that creative writing programs seldom serve the function of teaching students how to write, instead advancing their careers by introducing them to established writers so they can make valuable professional connections. In a brilliant take on copyright, he notes that the concept is not “essentially driven by notions of justice or theories of ownership, but by a certain culture’s attachment to a certain literary form.” As the character of the printed word and the nature of reading continue to change, Parks’s essays probe the positive and negative effects of these changes for our reading lives. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/23/2015 Release date: 05/12/2015 Genre: Nonfiction
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