What is fiction? What is it for? Hints at an answer to these imponderables turn up in the unlikeliest places. For example, in an old article on psychology's replication crisis: If it turned out that people were so variable that even very close replications threw up entirely different results, “it would mean that we could … Continue reading Manifesto, Advertisement, and Excerpt: Introducing The Class of 2000
If American literature had been left wholly in the hands of established publishers—Ticknor and Fields, for instance—Longfellow might have remained our greatest poet. But Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, had Leaves of Grass printed, at his own expense, in 1855—he even set most of the type himself. Likewise, if Virginia … Continue reading Literary Fiction: To Self-Publish or Not?
Love Medicine: Deluxe Modern Classic by Louise Erdrich My rating: 4 of 5 stars Browsing in a library the other day, I came upon a reference—in I don't recall which book by I don't recall which author—to the idea of a real novelist, as opposed to a novelist whose primary interests are moral or ideological … Continue reading Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
American Pastoral by Philip Roth My rating: 5 of 5 stars American Pastoral is a novel whose motto is famously the following, its narrator's exclamation just before he learns that the life he'd imagined for an old neighborhood and school acquaintance is not the life the man had actually led: The fact remains that getting people … Continue reading Philip Roth, American Pastoral
Killing and Dying: Stories by Adrian Tomine My rating: 2 of 5 stars In my previous post, I quoted Miguel Rosa, who used to blog at St. Oberose; he was recently interviewed over at The Untranslated, and he said this: In fact I’ve been thinking about this for some time now: if there’s a reason … Continue reading Adrian Tomine, Killing and Dying: Stories
Introduction The person who made the statement quoted (not quite verbatim, so please don't go googling) in the eighth numbered section of my post on Jimmy Corrigan is the editor of a journal that published a short story of mine last year. At $10 a copy, this journal is probably not reaching very many people, and … Continue reading Short Story: “The Embrace”
I was never much for archival work. I am as vain and arrogant as any unproven writer who occasionally imagines his future book blurbs, as in that chastening passage from Joyce's "A Little Cloud": He began to invent sentences and phrases from the notice which his book would get. 'Mr Chandler has the gift of … Continue reading Notes on Notes on Notes: Reading Coetzee’s Diary (Vicariously)