Two hotly anticipated collections of stories are out this week: Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank and Dan Chaon’s Stay Awake. Also new this week are Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Ramona Ausubel’s No One is Here Except All of Us, which she wrote about here recently, Dalkey’s new edition of The Recognitions by William Gaddis, and a new volume of William S. Burroughs’ letters.
Caleb Crain, author of American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation discusses the mixed feelings that a writer is subject to when it’s time to let go of a book.
In his review of a collection of rejected New Yorker covers titled Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant To See, Jeet Heer details the magazine’s history of straddling the divide between bourgeoisie complacency and bohemian angst.
Though Kim Gordon is mostly known for her time in Sonic Youth, she’s also an artist and writer, one who’s racked up art projects and publications over the course of the past forty years. At Full-Stop, Hestia Peppe reviews Is It My Body?, a new collection of Gordon’s essays and other written work. It might also be a good time to read our own Anne K. Yoder on punk and revolutionary nonfiction.
In The New York Times, Tatjana Soli gives high praise to Snow Hunters, the first novel by Once the Shore author and Best American Short Stories alumnus Paul Yoon. The novel, which tells the tale of a North Korean refugee named Yohan, proves that Yoon is “well-suited to the short form,” she writes. (Related: Soli has written for us.)
I didn’t expect to find a Chinese poem more ornate than Su Hui’s palindromic, pre-oulipan “Xuanji Tu,” but apparently I underestimated myself. Here’s “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den,” a 92-character poem by Yuen Ren Chao which relies on the tonal variations of a single sound (shi) to tell the story of a “lion addict” with a taste for big cats. For a really crazy experience, I recommend listening to the poem being read aloud.
Amber Sparks investigates why short stories are overlooked. She writes, “Most people really don’t like short stories. And that includes lots of critics, who often seem to regard short story collections as a warm-up for the real thing.” Pair with Paul Vidich’s Millions piece about the future of the short story.