I agree with Michael Orthofer, the interaction between super-agent Andrew Wylie and super-awesome Playboy editor Amy Grace Loyd over the first-serial rights to Nabokov’s The Original of Laura is a bit gross.
From the New York Observer:
It was an inspired method, the flowers serving as a reference to Nabokov’s 1969 novel Ada, or Ardor, which was excerpted in Playboy—thus a reminder for Mr. Wylie of the magazine’s long and treasured association with the author. “It was part of my pitch to Andrew that Nabokov really liked publishing with Playboy, and how devoted Hef is to Nabokov and his legacy,” Ms. Loyd said.
Mr. Wylie was initially unresponsive.
“I would get nice notes back from him, but he really wouldn’t give me anything,” said Ms. Loyd, who’d curated a special feature marking the 50th anniversary of Nabokov’s Lolita as part of her tryout for the job.
Of course, Wylie tried to place this with The New Yorker, which apparently wasn’t all that interested.
So, the super-agent (once referred to as “The Greediest Man at Frankfurt”) came crawling back
on his knees with some insane demands.
There were a few sticking points in the negotiation, chiefly the fact that Mr. Wylie wanted Ms. Loyd to give an offer on the book without first reading a page of it.
Who does that? Oh, nevermind, don’t answer that. I’m just glad Amy got her piece . . . and hopefully a long, long shower.
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .