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May 23Liked by Naomi Kanakia

It's been a full month since you posted this, but I would also read that Edith Wharton novel. I would be obsessed with it and make unhinged Reddit recommendation posts and possibly a fan collage. I really like reading your tryhard striver characters, and being a tryhard social climber is the whole point of Rosedale, so.

I've always felt that Simon Rosedale and Lily Bart are interesting to read from a modern perspective because they don't necessarily work as a couple in Wharton's view of the universe, but they actually fit really well into modern romance tropes. You have a proposed marriage of convenience, an opposites-attract vibe, and a sense of energy and excitement in Rosedale that all of Lily's other options completely lack. He's literally a ruthless businessman with a secret heart of gold, which is the blueprint for about twenty billion Harlequins. There are all these passages where she's thinking about how animal and greedy and rapacious he is, with an undertone of repulsion because Wharton is such an anti-Semite but also... idk... it's kinda hot?

Anyway, my Edith Wharton takes aside, it's super interesting to see your negotiation between your own impulses and those of the market! It's cool to see that insider baseball part on substack and I'm super hyped to read The Default World when it drops tomorrow.

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It was interesting to go back and re-read the Rosedale parts in order to write this post, and I remembered something weird: Lily actually accepts Rosedale's marriage offer at some point, but he's retracted it, because she's fallen so far socially! And yet he holds out the hope that if she works at it, she can regain his regard and they can marry after all. It really does fall into that fascinating romance trope, where now that he has the upper hand, he's got this ever so slight element of contempt for her. Yeah, I think from a modern context it's obvious that Rosedale and Lily would end up together!

I think the Edith Wharton book could actually sell, except that the way I wanted to write it was SO uncommercial, because in my version Rosedale would still be a greedy, rapacious Jew, so it would kind of be about how he's the bad sort of Jew, and my Lily Bart would come from this very upper-crust SF socialite family that's still politely antisemitic. Like, if I made Rosedale into Srivantha Reddy, it would be a slam-drunk sale, but my heart just wasn't in it.

TDW isn't coming out until this Tuesday, but it's close! Happy you're excited =]

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"My Pafology" is clearly based on "Native Son" *and* it also throws in a little *Color Purple*, which I've always appreciated because I hate that book. And you're so right! *My Pafology* is not *quite* bad enough to do the exact work Monk says it's doing. It sucks but it's readable. If it got a round of good reviews and I [a younger and slightly more tolerant version of me] picked it up, I'd be like "This is pretty thin" but then I'd guilt myself into finishing it: "Oh, who am *I* to judge, perhaps my standards are too Privileged, blah blah blah." Van Go is Monk's id in the same way that *My Pafology* is the id of Monk's highbrow novels. They're both named after difficult artists that everybody later came to appreciate.

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I just read Erasure recently, and I had the same thought about “My Pafology” not being THAT bad (especially compared to “We’s Lives in Da Ghetto”). I emerged from the reading thinking that Everett did that on purpose—while still calling it trash, via Monk—to implicate the reader and include you and me as the target of the satire.

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For what it’s worth, I’d read that Edith Wharton inspired novel. It’s lousy that agents and publishers have lost sight of all the readers who are seeking out just those ambiguities.

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This is very good, I thought the stations of the cross rang true - and it made me rethink Erasure

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"Sometimes people hate your book not because they misunderstand it, but because they understand it all too well, and it portrays a reality that they do not want to face."

Can I get this on a t-shirt, please?

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