You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.
Part of the “Original Katzenjammer Kids” Series, from the International Film Service Inc. (owned by William Randolph Hearst), 1918.
A couple weeks ago The Millions released their “Most Anticipated” book preview for the second half of 2011, and there are some really great books on the list. Some of these forthcoming releases are pretty exciting. You should check out their article for the full thrust of the season, but, nonetheless, here are the ones that have me on tenterhooks.
Don DeLillo will publish his first collection of short stories in November with The Angel Esmerelda: Nine Stories. The stories included were written between 1979 and 2011, so it’s a pretty big range to draw from–and is clearly a collected stories kind of thing with a different label. It is a new book from DeLillo, however, so I’m eager to read it.
Dan Chaon, probably my favorite contemporary writer of short fiction, comes out with a new collection early in 2012 called Stay Awake. I liked his novels okay, but, for me, Chaon’s short story collections are where it’s at.
Colson Whitehead wrote a post-9/11 zombie novel–Zone One–that comes out in September. It looks pretty interesting. Whitehead’s The Intuitionist is one of my favorite novels, and one I highly recommend checking out if you haven’t yet read it.
Denis Johnson‘s Train Dreams comes out in August. It’s a novella that was originally featured in the 2003 O. Henry Prize Stories anthology.
Roberto Bolano has yet another posthumous release with The Third Reich. The title refers to a war game some Germans get caught up in while vacationing in Spain.
Lauren Groff comes out with Arcadia in 2012, a novel about a utopian sect in rural New York that falls apart.
Yannick Murphy‘s The Call. I’ll be reading this over the weekend. A novel written as diary entries about a family’s difficult year after a son goes into a coma following a hunting accident.
DBC Pierre‘s Lights Out in Wonderland is also an August release. An international, satiric romp that takes its aim on the largesse and iniquities of late capitalism.
Some excellent news today, as I learned that my short story “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine” will run in the Spring 2012 issue of Boulevard!
This will be my sixteenth published short story, and the third of mine to appear in Boulevard. My work has found a home in the journal, and I’m grateful for the support of its staff, especially editor Richard Burgin. It’s a real privilege to connect with a prestigious journal multiple times like this. Previously, “Welcome Home” ran in the Spring 2008 issue of Boulevard–as winner of their Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers–and “The Approximate End of the World” ran in the Spring 2010 issue.
Similar to when I mentioned that “The First Night of My Down-and-Out Sex Life” was selected by Confrontation earlier this year, “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine” is part of a series of short stories that I’ve been working on the past couple years–which combine in my short story collection (How to Die Young in Nebraska) as the novella “Bad Faith.” The other stories include “The Man Who Never Was,” which was in Weekday a year ago, and “Kleinhardt’s Women,” which was on Fogged Clarity in December. “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine” is a psychological thriller that follows heroine Amy Gutschow after she jumps a freight train outside Aurora, Nebraska and through her confrontation with a pathetic but effective ladies man, Aaron Kleinhardt, after she hops off the train in Valentine, Neb. This story is one I’m very proud of, and I’m ecstatic to know that it will be taken care of by a stalwart like Boulevard. Cheers!
I’ve been enjoying the Kenyon Review blog this summer–specifically their series of Micro-Interviews and the audio archives from their 2011 Writers Workshop program. It’s pretty cool to watch how these things take shape. The most famous archive of writer interviews is, of course, the Paris Review‘s, which is like a master’s program in literature and writing by itself.
It’s interesting how the rise of MFA writing programs in the last decade happened at the same time that so many new resources (or not so new, just newly electronic) for writers have popped up online. Of course, it isn’t like a writer has ever had to go to grad school in order to meet other writers, or read great books, or write every day, or find great advice and resources, etc. Grad school programs provide an organization of these activities, for a price; and in a somewhat similar way, great literary blogs and archives provide a similarly useful naming and sorting of resources for those who join their community.
Anyway–here are some links of things I’ve enjoyed these past few months:
-The Paris Review Daily- their blog
-HTML Giant – the new official home to heated literary debate and hipster declarations
-The Outlet – the blog of Electric Literature and NYC literary social scene
The Millions posted today my review of Suzanne Rivecca’s debut short fiction collection, Death Is Not an Option. This is my fifth review for The Millions, which is a site I admire greatly. I’m always thrilled to see my name up on their front page, and am gratified that they publish my literary criticism.
Likewise, I’m honored to have the opportunity to review a great writer like Rivecca, who had a story in the same Best New American Voices anthology that I was in. The collection is her debut, and I’m sure the novel to follow will be one of the most anticipated books of the next decade. She’s really a spectacular talent, an author to keep an eye on for sure.
June turned out to be all about new short stories for me. I completely reworked one short story, wrote a new one, and put the final touches on yet another. I’d planned on drafting new material for the novel this month, but was really swept up in the short form for a few weeks and had to put off any new writing for the novel. It had been so long since I had much passion for writing short fiction, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. It felt pretty good to pump out a few stories in a small period of time, after working on one project for nearly two years now. To hear some new voices, to deal with different types of problems—those faced by married people, by people alive in this century, by those from the middle class—was kind of nice. It will also be nice to have some new stories to send out to journals this fall, which hasn’t been the case for a while.
In other news this past month:
-Mixer Publishing released my short story “The Housekeeper” on Amazon, available for download on Kindle or PDF. The story was originally published on Flatmancrooked earlier this year, but they have apparently taken down their entire site. That sucks.
-And if you’re already on Amazon, you might as well download the spring issue of The Kenyon Review, which features my short story “How to Die Young in a Nebraska Winter.”
-A story that just so happened to be reviewed on the blog Perpetual Folly as part of its Short Story Month 2011.
-Also, The Kenyon Review released their summer reading recommendations, including two of my picks.
Dispatch from “Impertinent, Triumphant”
“We talked about marriage for a long time. About the good stuff, then the bad, then the qualifications and excuses of what we’d said before. Something happened to Anna, she was emotional, she calmed down, something else happened a few weeks after that, and it wasn’t until later that she remembered the first thing, the original outrage, and by then it was too late for her to do something about it. My stories were the same, structurally. Eventually we turned listless and bleak, hearing about each others’ marriage wounds. They lacked finality. We wanted firm endings, closure, but that wasn’t possible.”
Personal Rejection Notes, Requests for More, and Other Nice Versions of No Thanks
Florida Review for “Attend the Way.”
The Names by Don DeLillo. I’ve read nearly all of DeLillo’s work now, and this is by far the most underappreciated novel of his I’ve come across. It’s really pretty good. One from his espionage meme, with a domestic twist, about a spy for the CIA who doesn’t know he’s working as a spy for the CIA. The only thing I can think of to explain its lack of recognition is that The Names, for one, comes from DeLillo’s first period of work, before he was famous, and, secondly, that it covers a lot of similar ground as some of his later intelligence novels, like Mao II, Underworld(my favorite!) and, to some extent, Libra.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
The Call by Yannick Murphy.