LITERATURE

Literary Homes in Paris

Feminist writer Anna de Noialles set the trend for the ultra-quiet writer’s den. Marcel Proust, followed suit, writing his novels in a sound-proof room.

Some writers do their best work when they withdraw from society, working in a kind of fevered isolation.

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The Domestic Apologies

Apology to the Fish

If I’d known how poorly I keep fish, I’d never have allowed such a large tank.

Apology to the Dog

You have a dog bed in nearly every room, and I’m not sure what you think we are trying to tell you. I will try to walk you more often, but you’ll only be searching for my wife—giver of treats and scratches.

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The House as Muse

Any devoted fan of Woolf’s will already be familiar with her fondness for domestic spaces. Her characters meditate on the meaning of life as they arrange the roses in a crystal vase or notice how the sunlight falls upon the pattern in the carpet. For them, the house is a living, breathing thing. A companion for their deepest thoughts.

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A Literary Guide to New York

The death of the book has been greatly exaggerated. Proof positive is Rizzoli’s A Booklover’s Guide to New York, written by Cleo Le-Tan and illustrated by her father, Pierre Le-Tan. Cleo, who was raised in New York, Paris and London, is a literary newcomer but definitely adept at the writing game.

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Fall Reading

Haruki Murakami said, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you will only think what everyone else is thinking.” So here’s a list of unusual books to curl up with as the weather changes — from Gothic tales for dark and stormy nights and novels set in strange, romantic places.

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Home from the Sea

Melville wrote about sperm whales and harpoons when he was landlocked in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and living in a house of strong-willed women. How can a writer’s desk serve as a creative island?

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A Fairy Tale of Home

For a surreal reconstruction of an almost unbearable home life after the revolution, nothing beats the tales of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, one of Russia’s finest living writers. In “The Story of a Painter” an artist loses his Moscow apartment to swindler who then resells it to another family.

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Houses are Ephemeral

No one captures America’s transition from homesteading to rootlessness better than the heartland writer Marilynne Robinson. In her luminous novel, Housekeeping, she asks: Are some of us natural nesters and others born vagabonds?

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