Today in books and publishing: Vanity Fair grants publication to unearthed portion of Answered Prayers; Mario Vargas Llosa considers E.L. James; Nora Roberts is a boon for Boonsboro.
Part of Capote's Answered Prayers. Two weeks ago we told you about a stack of Truman Capote's papers recently discovered collecting dust in the New York Public Library. We noted that Vanity Fair promised to publish a six-page excerpt of a chapter from Capote's legendary unfinished novel Answered Prayers, and here it is. This portion, entitled "Yachts and Things," finds the narrator cruising through the Greek islands with "an Italian friend," his family, and "a distinguished and rather intellectual woman." But the trip has been soured by the sudden death of one of the captain's family members. The passages show off Capote's flair for vividly descriptive language, and evoke the kind of languid high society leisure you'd expect from his work. [Vanity Fair]
Erotica fans prefer E.L. James to Mario Vargas Llosa. Imagine how withered one must feel when, after a lifetime of writing critically revered erotica, a Twilight fan who thinks people scream "argh!" during sex comes along and blows your sales figures out of the water. Mario Vargas Llosa seems to be taking E.L. James' success in stride, though. When asked during a talk at the Americas Society about the swelling interest in erotica following the Fifty Shades phenom, the Nobel laureate said, "I have tried to do it but without the same success." He admitted he hasn't read Fifty Shades (though he says, "I hope it's fun"), but he dropped this pearl about writing sex into fiction:
When a novel is focused only on the sexual experience, it can be monotonous, repetitive, it can become a tedious experience. However the sexual component can't be excluded from a great novel, as well as eroticism. It is very difficult to exclude sex because sex is a very important part of human life. Eroticism is the expression of civilization while sex is brutal, is something animal.