Posts Tagged: the new yorker

Writing After 40

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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.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Story|Houston published a beautiful story this week in their Fall 2014 issue, all of which centers around the theme of family, functional or otherwise. “Termites” tells the story of Tamara, aka Tam or Tam-Tam, a youngish woman living in and trying to take care of/sell her family’s childhood home on Staten Island.

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O’Connor Memorialized

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Peacocks, poetry, and one of America’s most enduring authors.

Upon entering the cathedral for the small induction ceremony, attendees were greeted by two gigantic, sparkling sculptures suspended from the ceiling—they are phoenixes, part of an installation by the Chinese artist Xu Bing, but at first glance you might mistake them for peacocks, like the ones that O’Connor raised on her family’s Georgia farm, Andalusia.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Think of the most complicated and intriguing people you have ever met. Think of the way it feels to return to those people again and again, each time finding some new facet of truth, beauty, insight, originality. Michael Cunningham’s “White Angel” is a story like one of those people.  First published in the New Yorker in 1988, the story later grew into Cunningham’s 1990 novel and the 2004 movie, A Home at the End of the World.

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Nothing Left To Give

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Coming across a fiftieth anniversary edition copy of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, Ruth Margalit examines, for the New Yorker, the meaning of this book, especially in the context of the rest of the writer’s work:

… it’s difficult to know whether Silverstein, who died of a heart attack in 1999, after keeping out of the public eye for more than two decades, meant for us to read the book so conclusively.

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Magical Thinking

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When quizzed on his characters’ romantic proclivities, Haruki Murakami errs towards empathy:

I occasionally think that, in our heart of hearts, we all may be seeking situations like this one—where our free will doesn’t apply and (almost) everything is determined by someone else, where each day must be lived according to the conditions that someone else has laid down.

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A Whole Jar of Change

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Make your way to The New Yorker, where Elif Batuman makes an inquiry into what has become a dominant American disposition: awkwardness. “Awkwardness,” Batuman argues, “is the consciousness of a false position.”

Here is the top-rated definition of awkward in Urban Dictionary: “Passing a homeless person on your way to a Coin Star machine.” In other words, denying that you have any spare change while carrying a whole jar of change, a transparent column of money, right in front of the person.

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YA Television

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This summer’s debate over young adult literature has raised questions ranging from whether adults should read YA to what even counts as thee genre in the first place. The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum extends these questions to the world of television, where adolescent dramas have had a different impact on the development and survival of the medium:

This debate has focused on books.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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It seems impossible to say that someone was quietly assembling a story collection over a decade and a half when they’ve been publishing each of the stories one by one over at a little place called The New Yorker. And yet, that appears to be exactly what Donald Antrim has done.

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All Grown Up

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a creepy new book cover presumably intended to attract older readers, giving another stir to the pot of YA literature that may or may not be OK for adults to read. In the New Yorker, Margaret Talbot wishes people would argue about something more interesting.

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Maintaining Human Life

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Writing may be hard work, but it isn’t the kind that pays the bills. Tillie Olsen’s seminal Silences wonders just what kind of work writing really is, and who has the privilege to do it:

Though access to education has improved for women and for members of the working class (categories that intersect) the lessons of “Silences” still resonate.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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On Tuesday, Tony Earley released a new collection of stories, Mr. Tall. Two decades have passed since Earley’s debut collection, Here We Are in Paradise, and though he has released two novels and a memoir since that time, for short fiction addicts (and lovers of southern writing), the publication of a new book of stories is big news.

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All Are Bad

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We’ve all read at least one: from “Against YA” to “Against Happiness,” essays that promise to dismiss entire abstract concepts using only rhetoric make for great click-bait. In The New Yorker, Ivan Kreilkamp explains why we keep overstating the case:

“Against [X]” is a symptom of a liberal culture’s longing to escape its own strictures; it’s the desire of thoughtful and nuanced people to shed their inhibitions and issue fearsome dicta.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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The news of Michael Brown’s death cannot be ignored. When one of our young people dies from shots fired by a police officer, there will be sadness and confusion. There will inevitably be questions, and questions left unanswered will lead to anger.  This is a week, perhaps, when we need fiction and art to help us try to make sense of who we are and where we go from here.

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How Fitzgerald Shaped Hemingway

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An early draft of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises focused on Brett Ashley, the woman who serves as a love interest to protagonist Jake Barnes and others. The revised manuscript owes much to F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote a letter filled with withering criticism of the earlier version, leading Hemingway to edit out much of the original manuscript.

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Struggling with Titles

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Karl Ove Knausgaard has been making waves with his six-part book My Struggle. The popular series shares a title with another famous book, Mein Kampf, Hitler’s treatise written from his prison cell. The New Yorker explores the reasoning behind Knausgaard’s choice of title:

Knausgaard sometimes speaks in interviews and public appearances of an irony inherent in the name of the book; where Hitler is all ideology and rigid perfection in “Mein Kampf,” Knausgaard’s struggle as a middle-class dad is quotidian, messy, faintly ridiculous.

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