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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, January 16, 2009 12:03 pm
Quickly: One Obamanovella, Two Passings, and Three Comic Characters Find Their Sexuality Under Siege
Posted by: Keir Graff

Just the other day, in response to the news that Laura Bush had a deal for her memoir, I mentioned Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife, the fictionalized story of a president’s wife very much like Laura Bush. Now Sittenfeld is writing a serialized novella, “All Along, This Was What Was Supposed to Happen,” about the inauguration of Barack Obama for Slate (“The Story of O: American Wife Author Sittenfeld Writes Serialized Inauguration Novella for Slate,” by Matt Haber, New York Observer). But don’t think she’s going to make a habit of this:

She described the assignment from Slate as “a fun one-time experiment,” adding, “my next novel will have nothing to do with Washington, Republicans, Democrats, or any other real people.”

W. D. Snodgrass (Not for Specialists, 2006), R.I.P. (“W.D. Snodgrass, 83, a Poet of Intensely Autobiographical Themes, Is Dead,” by William McDonald, New York Times).

Hortense Calisher (Tattoo for a Slave, 2004), R.I.P. (“Hortense Calisher, Author, Dies at 97,” by Holcomb B. Noble, New York Times).

New fuel for fighting between England and France. In The Times, Matthew Parris writes, “Of course Tintin’s gay. Ask Snowy.” In Paris, a fervent Non! (“Why Tintin fans had to leap straight to his defence,” Times):

What next, wondered les Echos? Asterix and Obelix as lovers?

Of course not. Albert Underzo, however, the illustrator of the Asterix and Obelix books, is a sell-out, claims his daughter (“Daughter accuses Asterix author of betraying his hero,” by Richard Lea, Guardian).

“This first victory of the invader over the indomitable Gauls is the only scenario no-one has ever dared to imagine,” she continues. “It’s as if characters Detritus or some other Accidentrix had come to the village, seen the chief, Albert, my father, and conquered him … As if they had managed to open the gates of the village to the empire!”



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