Published: “Iconoclasm”

My very short story, "Iconoclasm," has been published by The Harpoon Review. First sentence: In the course of the capture of the city, the army took the museum. Please click here to find out what happens next—it's short and it's free!

Don’ts for Journals, Editors, and Agents

No doubt due to the creeping horrors of the slush pile—agrammatical erotica, all-caps conspiracy theories, and suchlike—every journal, editor, and agent in the literary land has published a list of don’ts for writers who want to submit their work. However “we’re-all-in-this-together” such lists are meant to sound, they generally have a scolding school-like tone, either … Continue reading Don’ts for Journals, Editors, and Agents

Published: “They Are in the Truth”

"They Are in the Truth" by John Pistelli. Please click to read my short story, "They Are in the Truth," published in The Stockholm Review of Literature. I think it is the best story I've written. It is a slightly surreal and comic-menacing narrative about the timeless problem of art vs. everyday life and the … Continue reading Published: “They Are in the Truth”

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the few living Anglophone writers I'd bet the proverbial farm on. If literature in this language is still being read in 200 years, they'll be reading him. His fiction has that quality that I've never been able to … Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

Dorothy Richardson, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Literary History

Amy Shearn on how and why Karl Ove Knausgaard's champions have neglected the modernist Dorothy Richardson, whose roman-fleuve Pilgrimage anticipates My Struggle in mode and method: As much as I do love my dear prolific weirdo Knausgaard, he hasn’t really done anything all that revolutionary. In fact, exactly a century ago, England saw the beginnings … Continue reading Dorothy Richardson, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Literary History

On Authenticity Considered as a Standard of Literary Value

Tim Parks, whose essays tend to bemuse me, as if he and I were not living in the same universe, nevertheless says much that I agree with and find refreshing in his latest, "In Search of Authenticity." There he defends authenticity—"Are these real concerns?"—as a standard of literary value. But at the risk of becoming a … Continue reading On Authenticity Considered as a Standard of Literary Value

Robert D. Richardson, First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process

First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process by Robert D. Richardson My rating: 4 of 5 stars I'm not sure I got what I was supposed to from this book, even as it is a book that argues for the rights of readers to get whatever they need from their reading. … Continue reading Robert D. Richardson, First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process

“The Embrace”

My short story, "The Embrace"—in my view, the best of my short stories to be published so far—appears in Vol. 3 of Winter Tangerine Review, an ebook version of which you can download instantly for $10. To arouse your interest in this tale about mothers and daughters, mollusks and marriage, adolescence and the ocean, sex … Continue reading “The Embrace”

Love and Death; or, Plague Sonnet

He holds the umbrella over both of their heads As she stumbles in roseate rainlight, Kicking her Mary Janes among the dead. The umbrella is school-colored: red and white. Their world history teacher had wept red tears, So they walked home before the end of the day. A girl resembling his sister appears, A rictus … Continue reading Love and Death; or, Plague Sonnet