Charles McGrath reports on a question that literary journalists and editors have been asking for years: Who will replace Robert Silvers as the editor of the New York Review of Books? The answer probably won't be coming anytime soon: According to Silvers, the question of who will succeed him is “not one that is presenting itself.”
The recent fact/fiction/journalism debates have focused mostly on John D’Agata’s book About a Mountain, but it also hit radio waves last week after it was revealed that This American Life’s most popular episode ever—about the conditions of workers at an Apple factory in China—was partially fabricated by its creator, monologist Mike Daisey. TAL dedicated an entire episode to retracting the story on Sunday, and host Ira Glass apologized in a statement: “Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story,” Glass said. “That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.” Daisey, who is currently starring in the one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” took a more mealy-mouthed approach: “This American Life is essentially a journalistic—not a theatrical—enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations,” Daisey wrote. “For this reason, I regret that I allowed This American Life to air an excerpt from my monologue. What I do is not journalism.”
The Baffler returns: copies of the revived journal were sent to subscribers last week.
Is the literary establishment a myth? Geoff Dyer says it is. “I don't detect anything monolithic or impregnable about this literary establishment,” he writes, “except a belief in the importance of spelling and punctuation.”
At the Los Angeles Review of Books, a writer reflects on the difficulties of getting self-published books reviewed by mainstream publications.
The Morning News’ annual Tournament of Books proceeds apace. In this round, The Hairpin editor Edith Zimmerman didn’t like The Marriage Plot. But she does like it better than Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl.