Nikil Saval

Nikil Saval is an editor at n+1. His book, Cubed, about the history of offices, is out from Doubleday.

The Danish novelist​ Christian Jungersen writes topical novels with untopical frames, which appear to be of the moment though they look at the news askance. His second novel, The Exception, came out in Denmark in 2004, when liberal debates about the justness of humanitarian intervention were at their height. Jungersen’s novel was set in the made-up Danish Centre for Information on...

White Happy Doves: The Real Mo Yan

Nikil Saval, 29 August 2013

When the English translation of Mo Yan’s novel Big Breasts and Wide Hips (1996) was published in 2004, it was seen by some critics as his bid for global literary prestige. It hit all the right notes: it was a historical saga of modern China featuring a proliferation of stories, it was unceasingly violent and nasty, and it came near to puncturing Party myths. In the preface, Howard Goldblatt, Mo Yan’s longtime translator and advocate, reported that it had provoked anger on the mainland among ideologues for humanising the Japanese soldiers who invaded Manchuria.

John Wray’s first book, The Right Hand of Sleep (2001), was a historical novel, narrating the slow collapse of an Austrian hilltown into the embrace of the Nazis. His second, Canaan’s Tongue (2005), was set during the American Civil War, but in place of the wistfulness and nostalgia that pervaded his previous book, this one was reminiscent of William Faulkner in his demonic vein....

Letter
Jenny Diski’s review of my book Cubed contains two errors of fact, partly attributable to misstatements of my own. The first is her reference to Henry-Russell Hitchcock as an architect of the International Style. In Cubed I mistakenly refer to Hitchcock as an architect, when he was an architectural historian. With Philip Johnson, Hitchcock mounted the Museum of Modern Art exhibit that showcased...

The secret beating heart of the dream office is the stationery cupboard, the ideal kind, the one that opens to enough depth to allow you to walk in and close the door behind you.

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