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. America, just as a concept, is a kind of evil force. That said, when I was deeply into the work of a single writer, I was struck by how independent and eccentric and complex and almost hermetic their vision was, how hard it seemed to really connect them to too many other people.