The novel of suburban malaise has been in fashion for as long as people have been commuting from leafy pastures just beyond the city limits. Never mind that the majority of Americans actually live in suburbs (and have therefore voted with their feet in favor of suburbia), American readers are apparently hungry for books that seek to reveal how stultifying that life really is. Rick Moody made his career with The Ice Storm, an account of a Connecticut family’s expensively appointed but empty lives.
Beware the intern you just sent on a coffee run. And not just because she may use the yellow sweetener instead of the pink. No, beware the intern because as easy as it is to punk her around now, this pleasure, like smoking or drinking, is likely to come back to bite you later, when she rises to a position of power. Which is quite likely, as one of the fundamental truths about post-millennial working life is this: Ex-interns run the show. And like many banal workforce realities, this one’s pernicious. The field of journalism offers a prime example of the power of the internship.
The fiction of Jhumpa Lahiri is a strong indication that the great American melting pot is in tip-top shape. That’s not just because Lahiri, an Indian-American, is extremely popular, although she is: Knopf has printed 300,000 copies of Unaccustomed Earth, her new story collection, an astoundingly high figure for a writer whose work eludes any comparisons with that of James Patterson or John Grisham. Lahiri writes largely about the American-born children of middle-class Indian immigrants, but in doing so, she also nails the mores of affluent, educated Americans, both Indian and non-Indian.