Posts Tagged: new yorker

An Inconvenient Fiction

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Invoking his new play, Buzz, Benjamin Kunkel writes in the New Yorker about how “few imaginative writers have dealt with the present-day experience of global warming in a direct and concentrated way” and why this might be the case:

If climate change has, to date, proved hard to write about, that’s because it exists for most of us, to date, as something that afflicts different neighborhoods, distant cities, or future times.

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Skewed Standards

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The YA battle rages on at Flavorwire, where Sarah Seltzer responds to Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker essay pondering the effects of supposedly lowbrow children’s lit:

We have to interrogate our basic assumption that writing skills possessed by educated white people are the best skills around…Humor, action, relatable language, and plotting are not lesser tools in a writer’s toolbox, but equally necessary ones.

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Hasta la Madre

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At the New YorkerFrancisco Goldman tackles the malaise shadowing his favorite city in the world:

Mexico City feels different these days. Its usual vibrancy has been muted, and not only because of the missing students of Ayotzinapa. Paéz tells me that when he walked the city streets on the night of September 16th, which is Mexican Independence Day, he was struck by how quiet things were.

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Apollo Revisited

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Tom Hanks (yeah, that one), lands his short fiction debut over at the New Yorker:

I’ve been around great storytellers all my life and, like an enthusiastic student, I want to tell some of my own. And I read so much nonfiction that the details stack up in my head and need a rearranging sometimes.

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Another Story to Guide You

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Over at the New Yorker, Etgar Keret and Sayed Kashua continue their conversation:

I believe that this despair is temporary, and that even though there are quite a few political elements that would rather see us despairing, and even though it sometimes seems as if enormous forces are working to convince us that hope is just another word in our national anthem and not a powerful force that can lead to change, people feel deep down that the terrible situation we find ourselves in is not really the only dish on the regional menu.

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A Story to See You Through

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Etgar Keret and Sasha Kayua have had a pretty busy year: after speaking out against Israeli intolerance, and getting snubbed on every front, the pair turned to penning their viewpoints to each other. The New Yorker‘s published a few of them, and when Kashua asks Keret for a story to see him through, his friend does us all the favor of obliging:

2015 was a historic year in the Middle East, all because of a surprising, brilliant idea that an Arab-Israeli expatriate had.

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Take a Stab: An Essay

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In anticipation of the Best American Essays 2014, which will come out later this week from Houghton Mifflin, the New Yorker brings us an adaptation of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s introduction to the anthology—a historical investigation of the word “essay.” Sullivan goes beyond the well-worn territory of debating the connotations Montaigne intended for his “Essais,” exploring the literary legacy of King James and the cultural reach of dramatist Ben Jonson.

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Amis, Oates, and the Foul-Smelling Meadow

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Recent [WWII] novels by Susanna Moore and Ayelet Waldman achieve their emotional power by focussing upon characters peripheral to the terrible European history that has nonetheless altered their lives. The conflagration must be glimpsed indirectly, following Appelfeld’s admonition that “one does not look directly into the sun.”

Such circumspection has not been Martin Amis’s strategy in approaching the Holocaust.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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On Tuesday, Margaret Atwood released Stone Mattress, a collection of “wonderfully weird short stories.” Stone Mattress is Atwood’s eighth collection of stories, not to mention her 14 novels and other formidable volumes of poetry, children’s literature, and nonfiction.

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Lost Language Explored

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The literature of Alzheimer’s is a cavern unexplored, but Stefan Merrill Block does his best for the New Yorker:

Nearly every novel I’ve read that attempts to depict the internal experience of Alzheimer’s also attempts to fit the disease’s retrogenic symptoms to one sort of sentimental trope: a reckoning with a repressed or unacknowledged truth that must come before acceptance is possible.

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Memoir vs. Status Updates

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In an era when people live tweet every aspect of their lives, the memoir might seem an antiquated notion. Dani Shapiro disagrees. Status updates are immediate, instant acts of narcissism. Writing a memoir requires introspection and distance. Shapiro explains over at The New Yorker:

It is only with distance that we are able to turn our powers of observation on ourselves, thus fashioning stories in which we are characters.

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The Post-Wounded Woman

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Leslie Jamison‘s The Empathy Exams coins the phrase “Post-Wounded Woman,” referring to women who “are wary of melodrama so they stay numb or clever instead. Post-wounded women make jokes about being wounded or get impatient with women who hurt too much.” Catherine Lacey‘s debut novel Nobody Is Ever Missing embodies this ideal, writes Daphne Merkin at the New Yorker.

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Thinking About Tweeting About Working on My Novel

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Artist Cory Arcangel recently curated a collection of tweets containing the phrase “working on my novel” to produce a book of the same name. The New Yorker’s Mark O’Connell wonders whywhy he did it, why they tweeted it, and why it matters to us:

…it’s hard to imagine a book providing a more solid pretext for discussions of social media and creativity, or the death of the novel, or any number of other means by which the think-piecing superego might impose itself on the culture.

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From the Limousine, the King of Funk

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We want the intent. Whatever happened basically to the ethnic man, it happened through trials and tribulations. There’s no intent to make them better. Martin Luther King—and Black Panthers organized to start riots. SNCC—the hate groups, whether it was the Panthers or whether it was the Klansmen, or whether it was they called the self-defense to come down and save our daughters here—the Panthers trying to get aboard.

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What’s So Great about Relatability?

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In the wake of a tweet by Ira Glass that called Shakespeare’s plays unrelatableRebecca Mead explores why we care so much about whether we can relate to a play, story or work of art. She admits there’s nothing new about people wanting to see themselves reflected in art, but is still bothered by this recent insistence on relatability:

To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience.

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