Jonah Man Review Goes Live on Kenyon Review Online

As promised, my review of Christopher Narozny’s debut novel Jonah Man was posted on The Kenyon Review Online this morning as part of their Fall 2012 online issue.

Here’s a teaser:

Christopher Narozny’s tantalizing debut novel, a literary thriller surrounding the intrigue of 1920s vaudevillians, is told from the perspective of four men connected by talent, ambition, and a grisly murder in a lawless New Mexico town. Among the principal characters are a young performer on the rise—known as Jonson’s boy—and a seasoned juggler named Swain whose career floundered after one of his hands was chopped off in a devastating act of retribution. Jonson’s boy and Swain are connected by their spots on a travelling show, their status as current and former child prodigies, and a drug trafficking operation that has infiltrated the circuit. Swain slips more each day, injecting the dope he smuggles cross-country into “a nub of bone in [his] stump,” diluting the product each time he uses in the hopes no one will notice his theft. It’s clear Swain is headed for rock bottom, if he’s not already there.

If you’re looking to cleanse the palate after a contentious election cycle, what better medicine some good old-fashioned historically-based fiction. Brought out by a rising Brooklyn-based indy, Ig Publsihing, Jonah Man is really a strong debut by a promising linguistic stylist. (Check out the review for more glowing.)

The Kenyon Review Online resources (and others)

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:

Kenyon Review Blog

TKR Micro Interview with Ron Carlson

Audio of readings and seminars from the 2011 Kenyon Review Writers Workshop

TKR Micro Interview with Seth Fried

The Paris Review Interviews

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

Key West Literary Seminar Audio Archives

March in Review

-We had out first flowers of the spring pop up mid month. The first sprouts we had were daffodil; the first blooms were crocus. Last year I was doing my residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City when we had our first flowers, and I was pretty sad to miss them. Our winter wasn’t nearly as hard as the last one was, but it’s still pretty nice to be here to see things change. Our house was built in 1905, so we have things pop up pretty much everywhere too. Between the patio pavers, in the middle of the yard. It’s awesome.

-Tomorrow my wife Nicole’s new promotion and raise go into effect. She’s so smart. Although, being promised a raise on April Fool’s Day isn’t all that promising.

-The Royals lost their Opening Day game against the Angels this afternoon. It was a pretty good game, especially after LA starting pitcher Jered Weaver was pulled. KC should have one of the best, most exciting, and youngest middle relief corps in the majors this year. Too bad they’ll be pitching from behind most of the time.

-“How to Die Young in a Nebraska Winter” was published earlier this month in The Kenyon Review. It looks like they’re still running a friends-and-family special at this link, for anyone who’s interested in a discounted current issue or subscription. It was some pretty exciting stuff being in a TKR. I’ve had a few of these bigger publications now, and it’s really something a guy or gal could used to.

-I was also interviewed by The Kenyon Review Online in anticipation of the release.

-Then, to cap off a crazy week, Confrontation accepted my story “The First Night of My Down-and-Out Sex Life” for publication. I haven’t heard anything for sure, but, judging from the contract verbiage, I’m hoping it will run in November.

Personal Rejection Notes, Requests for More, and Other Nice Versions of No Thanks

Bat City Review and Missouri Review for “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine”; Ploughshares for “Shame Cycle”; and New Letters for “These Things That Save Us.”

Now Reading

Greetings from Below by David Philip Mullins. Still reading this, kind of. I’ve been knee-deep in book prize manuscripts for pretty much the whole month. I will be finishing up my recommendations next week and then will be back on to published books again. I’m very much looking forward to it.


Up Next

My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos.

On Newstands Now: TKR Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 edition of The Kenyon Review hits shelves this week! The issue features my story “How to Die Young in a Nebraska Winter,” along with a story by Seth Fried, poems by Albert Goldbarth and Kevin Young, and a bunch of other great stuff. I’m eager to get mine. Single copies are available for $10 at the link above, or by clicking on the image on the right, if you’re interested. Or, use this link for a special friends and family discount to get 20% off the issue or a subscription.

(The Kenyon Review Online ran a micro-interview of me late last week, in case you missed it.)

Also, The Cincinnati Review has posted the cover artwork for its forthcoming Summer 2011 issue, which will feature my Schiff-Prize-for-Prose-winning story “The Current State of the Universe.” This looks to be awesome as well. We’re really rocking Ohio this year.

All in all, it’s been a pretty great day. My wife Nicole got a promotion at work, Maddie’s flu seems to be lifting, and I received a couple awesome emails this morning that have me pretty excited. Nothing on that yet, but wish me luck.

Micro-Interview with The Kenyon Review

A micro-interview I did for The Kenyon Review Online has been posted to their blog. It’s a pretty cool thing. I guess they are doing these interviews with contributors to help promote their upcoming issues–and mine was the first they did! Hopefully it turned out all right.

The post also reveals that their spring issue, which features my story “How to Die Young in a Nebraska Winter,” will be shipping next Thursday, March 10. How awesome is that? I’m pretty psyched. This is something I’ve really been looking forward to.

Thanks so much to Laura Briskman for doing the interview; and to David Lynn, Tyler Meier, John Pickard, James Flaherty, and everyone else at TKR for all their work and help in making this happen. My experience with The Kenyon Review has been exceptional.