“The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985 to overwhelming critical acclaim. It won the Governor General’s award for English-language fiction that year, and the inaugural Arthur C Clarke award in 1987. Often labelled a feminist dystopia, the novel captivates and terrifies in equal measure. Is Gilead the result of puritanism, misogyny and megalomania taken to their logical end? Is Atwood shooting readers a warning that this is where fanaticism and militarisation at the expense of humanity might lead?”
More at The Guardian.
When David Bowie was 15 he read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, a Beat Generation novel that inspired him to leave the cloister of London suburban life. For Bowie, the paperback novel offered more than just escapist fantasy, it could affect and change the way someone lived.
Alongside the influence of music and contemporary art on Bowie’s creative development, the songwriter drew on literature as a fertile resource of possibility and transformation. For example, the lyrics of Bowie’s 1974 album Diamond Dogs adopted the ‘cut-up technique‘ of the experimental American writer William S. Burroughs, whereby existing passages are broken up and reassembled to create something new and original.
This is the first in a new weekly series that brings together the articles, reviews, interviews and miscellany that has caught my eye over the past seven days. Including: an exclusive look inside the final volume of Samuel Beckett’s correspondence, a guide to david Bowie’s favourite books, and troubling news that Langston Hughes’ Harlem home is under threat. Take a look, and feel free to share! (more…)