Thursday, September 9, 2010
Here are three that came immediately to mind:
1) Jeffrey Eugenides — The writer of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Middlesex hasn't published a novel since. He's published several short stories in literary mags, and has edited a collection, but no new long fiction. What gives, Jeff? I gotta believe that as well-received and still-loved as Middlesex (and The Virgin Suicides, too) is/was, when or if word hits the street that Eugenides is publishing again, the hype will approach the Franzen level. Won't be the same, but it'll approach.
2) Robert Stone — This aging American master of arts and letters hasn't published a novel since 2003's Bay of Souls — which, frankly, sucked. But I loved Stone's Damascus Gate and Children of Light, and people say Dog Soldiers is one of the all-time great war novels (it won the 1975 National Book Award). The 73-year old novelist and journalist did publish a memoir titled Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties a few years ago, as well as a volume of short stories titled Fun With Problems a week ago. But no new novel in seven years. Does the man have one left in him? I sure hope so!
3) Zadie Smith — After publishing three novels in five years between 2000 and 2005, Smith's fiction has gone silent — not even a published short story since 2007. Smith is a wonderful essayist (publishing a collection late last this year titled Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays) and seems to have found a David Foster Wallace-esque mid-career love for journalism. Come back to fiction, Zadie! Please!
Sadly, unlike musicians or movie producers, writers are usually pretty quiet about what they're working on. So who knows if any of these writers even plan to publish again. Anyone have any insight? Who is on your list of novelists who seem to be on hiatus?
(By the way, did anyone catch the cameo of Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint on The Daily Show last night? To make a rather satiric point about religious freedom, Jon Oliver reads one of the all time slapstick, hilarious, and disgusting scenes in all of literature. Click here and skip to about the 6:00 minute mark...if you're not easily offended.)
Posted by Greg Zimmerman at 12:04 PM