Georges Simenon’s extensive body of work has inspired many films. These romans durs (“hard novels”—akin to what we would call a psychological thriller) have the right stuff for it: gritty settings, psychological tension, questionable morality, and sex.
Daniel Mendelsohn’s collection of essays—Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture—has been shortlisted for the 2013 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Awarded each year by a panel of judges, the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award honors work that “exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.”
It is with great sadness that NYRB marks the passing of the gifted illustrator Marc Simont. Born in Paris, Simont studied drawing with his father (also an illustrator) and at schools in France and the United States. Over the course of his illustrious career he worked on over 100 children’s books, including The Backward Day, The Wonderful O, and The 13 Clocks.
On July 15th at 7:00 pm, New York Review of Books contributor Luc Sante will introduce a Film Forum screening of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Le Amiche, a 1955 movie based on Cesare Pavese’s Among Women Only (Tra Donne Sole), a novel that is included in the NYRB Classics edition of The Selected Works of Cesare Pavese.
Today we celebrate the birth of Helen Keller. Many of us are familiar with the basics of Keller’s biography—that childhood illness left her deaf and blind, that she worked with her teacher Anne Sullivan to acquire language—but she was also a prolific writer and a tireless activist, lending her support to the advancement of women and various socialist causes. Her intellectually daring memoir, The World I Live In, is available from NYRB Classics.
Félix Fénéon (1861-1944), born on June 22, labored in anonymity in a French war office, but he was also a critic, publisher, journalist, anarchist, and “literary instigator.” Also born on June 22 was Dutch author Nescio, or Jan Hendrik Frederik Grönloh (1882-1961), a writer whose growing reputation and cult readership have marked him as a figure in world literature.
It is with great sadness that NYRB notes the death of celebrated Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk. One of the Dor Tashach—the “1948 generation” of writers who came of age during birth of the State of Israel—Kaniuk was fearless about taking on controversial issues. In his early career, his style ran contrary to those of his peers; rather than embracing realism, he reveled in a stream-of-consciousness more akin to surrealism. He valued self-criticism over self-righteousness.