Posts Tagged: granta
One of this year’s highly anticipated new novels is Jesse Ball’s How to Set a Fire and Why, forthcoming from Pantheon in July, about an intelligent and troubled teenage girl who takes an interest in arson. A standalone excerpt in Granta this week, titled “Lucia Series,” gives us a small taste that involves no fire, but is combustible all the same....more
Author George Saunders interviews Ben Marcus about reading for the “mechanics” of short stories, and how to “reverse engineer” these mechanics in order to construct original work. In addition, Ben Marcus shares what he learned about the state of the “American ” short story while reading for his recent anthology, New American Stories:
I’m pretty glad that I’m not an anthropologist whose job it is to document the patterns and currents of the American short story… American imperialism is a given, along with American greed and stupidity etc.
How we ended up in those backwoods hills was Iris said we needed to ‘get a little air,’ and Dolan added, ‘country air!’ and that was that. Iris was my lover, and Dolan was her roommate I’d never liked. All of us were alive, at that point.
You hear a lot about hot flashes, but hot flashes are the least of it, totally inconsequential in every way: you get as hot as a steam iron at odd moments – so what? The media would have you believe that hot flashes are the single most significant symptom toward which you should direct your attention and businesses their products, but when I think of menopause I don’t think of hot flashes; I am not here to talk about hot flashes.
This is the week of fantastical fiction, of the weird and the magical, of re-imagining fairy tales and urban legends, of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. On Tuesday, a new edition of Angela Carter’s seminal 1979 story collection The Bloody Chamber was released to mark what would have been Carter’s 75th birthday, had she not passed in 1992....more
If the lists are to be believed, the only good new writers are under 40. It’s not just Buzzfeed, but also the New Yorker, Granta, and others who publish lists of great new—and young—authors. Joanna Walsh takes issue with this trend over at the Guardian:
Sometimes the literary bitcoin is just life: some people have more to say aged 50, than at 30; for others it’s the opposite.
My mother stood before me in her quilted bathrobe, dark hair held back in a ponytail, her eyes sunken, grey. I felt like the narrator of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, who, startled out of sleep, opens his eyes to behold the monster reaching out to him: ‘the miserable monster .
Over at Granta, Sam Lipstye and Diane Cook chat about spontaneity, artistic permanence, and how time travel’s actually a bit of a burden:
I would love to make minor adjustments to most of the sentences I’ve put out into the world.
Fans of Cloud Atlas, a sextet of sweeping stylistic range, know well that Granta-recognized author David Mitchell has a knack for mimesis. But they may not know that he is also “uncommonly good at imitating nonhuman noises.” In anticipation of his new “psychovoltaic” novel, The Bone Clocks, Catherine Schultz walks with him through the Irish countryside as he discusses turning young adult “stew” into serious literature, dropping coins into the “slot called plot,” and writing using Google Maps....more
Over at Granta, Francisco Vilhena interviews Adrian Tomine, the artist and illustrator responsible for bringing us Shortcomings, Summer Blonde, and any number of illustrations for the New Yorker. Tomine riffs on the origins of his stories, landing a job in pre-9/11, and the dynamics of imperfection:
I’ve heard people mention – and sometimes criticize – this unresolved quality in my stories.
Granta has a stirring excerpt from Maria Choudhuri’s forthcoming memoir Beloved Strangers, about growing up in the capital of Bangladesh and then moving to New York.
The excerpt starts to explore the topic of her parents’ arranged marriage and what it meant for her mother to trade in a music career for a domestic life in a new town full of Pakistani soldiers....more
Saturday 11/9: The Comic Arts Festival features guest speakers, indie publishers, and self-published comic zines. Mt. Carmel Church -and- The Knitting Factory, 11am to 7pm, free....more
“At eleven, I felt that I might actually play anything on this violin,” writes Catherine Tice, the daughter of two musicians. Her essay in Granta, “A Brief History of Musical Failure,” raises the question of what it means to have “the makings of a prodigy,” and whether, in order to succeed, one must be immune “to the dark side of self-criticism.”
Still, Tice believes that she almost “gave [herself] over to the violin completely.”...more
Granta is three posts into a new series in which authors unpack opening sentences they have written.
Héctor Abad’s opening sentence is “The first thing I felt when I returned from the jungle was a paralysis of willpower.”
His explanation is completely unexpected, involving testosterone gel, reckless driving, and the power of fate....more
When I’m in the US, I argue with those who think Lagos is too dangerous a place to visit….I’m less defensive about Lagos when I’m actually there. After a few days back home, I begin to accumulate irritations and fears…The city makes everyone tense and grouchy.
We reached out to several of the worst offenders to ask where they thought they had gone wrong…but got very little in the way of responses. So we decided, instead, to reach out to the editors of the publications that actually had managed to show a relatively gender-equitable byline distribution in 2012.
Yuka Igarashi of Granta wrote an introspective piece on the trappings and fussiness of copyediting.
The presence of the unedited, the wrongfully edited, and the misspelled can be infuriating to an editor. Igarashi discusses her fight against the urge to edit beyond the office and scrutinize the grammar of her surroundings....more
Granta and ZYZZYVA are getting together in San Francisco for a “traditional British pub quiz with a California twist.”
There will be a show-down between teams comprised of audience members and contributors to both magazines, followed by music and dancing!...more
“Certainly novels can and should take risks but maybe I feel more freedom in the short story form because if it fails halfway in, I don’t feel an urge to toss myself out the window.”...more
Aleksandar Hemon writes about finding a way to play soccer after moving to the States, the characters on his team, and most importantly, this:
“…The moment of transcendence that might be familiar to those who practise sports with other people; the moment, arising from the chaos of the game, when all your team mates occupy the ideal position on the field; the moment when the universe seems to be arranged by a meaningful will that is not yours; the moment that perishes – as moments tend to – when you complete the pass; and all you have left is a vague, physical, orgasmic memory of the instant you were completely connected with the world around you.”...more
Helen Dunmore wrote the beautiful new introduction to Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, published online by Granta, in conjunction with their latest, feminism-themed issue, The F-Word. The beginning of summer and the new intro are both reasons to revisit this classic....more