“Mr. [Mark] O’Connell is an intelligent and very funny writer,” says Barton Swaim in The Wall Street Journal. “But Epic Fail will also prompt you to consider how shallow—and ugly—humans can be.” (Bonus: a reference to getting pitted, just so pitted.)
“All of your life, you think of that one fluid motion of power, terrorized by the fact we are capable of such collisions, such harm, such leveling of each other to flattened mountains, left to tunnel into ourselves, such wretched unhappiness, such unfathomable cruelty unless resurrected by the tenderness and affection of a lover, by kisses that leave us enthroned.” Major Jackson is next up in the Kiss series from Guernica Magazine — a weekly column which investigates that most intimate of human interactions, the kiss, in all its many manifestations.
If your characters go on a road trip, do you have to take one, too? When Mary Miller wrote The Last Days of California about a family driving from Alabama to California to meet the rapture, she hadn’t even been to the desert herself. To ensure it was accurate, though, she mapped important destinations on the route. “For Western Louisiana, I thought, ‘Is there actually a Waffle House within forty miles of this border?’ because I wanted it to be accurate. So I had maps, and I was tracking mileage,” she told Down & Out.
Ebony has a brief list of “Six Caribbean Writers to Discover This Summer,” and it’s a nice complement to Fortnightly Review’s recent double-feature on Dominican poets Homero Pumarol and Frank Báez. I also recommend checking out Generación Año Cero, an online collection of sixteen short stories from a “movement of [Cuban] writers who began publishing in 2000.”