Jake Silverstein’s Nothing Happened and Then It Did: A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction is a hilarious and engrossing new book that lives up to its title, blending journalism and invention. Absorbed in the book’s infectious narrative, you forget about the fact/fiction framework and simply revel in the half-true tale of Silverstein’s preposterous efforts to find material for a magazine article.
Michael Andrews on the moral gravity and literary power of Mathias Énard’s Zone.
Mathias Énard’s Zone—all 500 pages of it—consists of a single sentence. This sentence describes in unsparing detail some of the grisliest atrocities in the history of war—episodes from the Holocaust, the Algerian War of Independence, the War on Terror, and other conflicts. While difficult to stomach, this graphic violence is anything but gratuitous. It is rather the necessary hard evidence for the novel’s astonishing meditation on war and history. Énard plumbs the depths of human cruelty to create a work of extraordinary moral gravity and literary power, a novel that deserves a place among the great works of war literature.