paper trail

Why 'Fates and Furies' became a book of the year

Lauren Groff

In an interview with the Guardian, Claudia Rankine talks about Serena Williams, the reception of her book Citizen, and the difficulties one faces when calling out racism. “When white men are shooting black people, some of it is malice and some an out-of-control image of blackness in their minds. Darren Wilson told the jury that he shot Michael Brown because he looked ‘like a demon.’ And I don’t disbelieve it. Blackness in the white imagination has nothing to do with black people.”

Rolling Stone weighs in on the year’s best music books.

After parents successfully campaigned to remove Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian from a high-school’s curriculum, a local bookstore started a crowdfunding project to buy copies of the book for 350 students. When Hachette, the book’s publisher, heard of the project to distribute the book to students, it sent another 350 copies to the store, free of charge.

Laura Miller explains how Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies became one of the most talked-about books of 2015. President Obama’s shout-out didn’t hurt. But Miller argues that Fates and Furies has won readers primarily with its portrait of a marriage riddled with secrets and power struggles, much as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl did in 2012. Miller does not see much subtlety in either novel: “These are both tales of female puppet masters, geniuses who invisibly engineer their marriages to appear to best advantage to outsiders.” Nonetheless, many women readers identify with the books’ heroines, who “resemble every working mum who wonders if her husband has any notion of how much effort she puts into the administration of their family life.”

The Washington Post reports that “in the age of Amazon, used bookstores are making an unlikely comeback.”