Posts Tagged: David Ulin

Ban “Bravery” from Book Jackets

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David Ulin at the LA Times makes interesting argument for retiring the word “brave” from jacket copy. Citing its overuse and the seeming dissonance of describing literature as brave in the face of countless acts of bravery in the world beyond books every day, Ulin argues that we do our authors a disservice with language that makes it sound “as if a writer were facing down some sort of fusillade every time he or she sat down to work.” He goes on suggest that we abandon the word to protest its chilling effect on genuine engagement with (and criticism of) the work:

This is my problem with “brave” and other words like it: They do not engage but rather insist.

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Making Sense of the “Floating Cultural Stew”

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Over at the L.A. Times, David Ulin argues that the art of the contemporary essay is “in a renaissance.”

He praises the recent essay collections of Tom Bissell and Mark Dery, adding them to the ranks of books like Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence, Geoff Dyer’s Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, Dubravka Ugresic’s Karaoke Culture, Jonathan Franzen’s Farther Away, and John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead, all of which walk “an exhilarating tightrope between the personal and the critical, their most fundamental inquiries those the authors make about themselves.”

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David Ulin on the LOA’s Raymond Carver

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is stunningly desolate, a group of stories so laconic they almost perfectly reflect the resignation of characters struggling with alcoholism, infidelity and the desperation of diminished dreams…

“Despite the book’s success, Carver was unhappy at how he was labeled; “There’s something about ‘minimalist,’ ” he grumbled in 1983, “that smacks of smallness of vision and execution that I don’t like.” Two years ago, his widow Tess Gallagher announced plans to release the stories as her husband had conceived them, in a collection called Beginners

“[It’s] published for the first time in Collected Stories, and although it comes at the end, it can’t help but function as a centerpiece… it skews the way the collection showcases Carver’s career.

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