Posts Tagged: Fiction
6

Being A Writer™

I attended my first writer’s conference in 2012. Those ten or so days among meadows and butter yellow cottages were rewarding but fraught. The conference was rewarding in that it was fruitful. I met a lot of great people, collected from the craft courses and workshops some useful habits and things to consider, and was introduced to contemporary writers I’ll be reading, and hoping to run into again, for years. ("Oh, I know her," I can’t wait to say. “She was, um, cruel in workshop.”) I left the conference with a much clearer sense of what I would need to do if I wanted to turn this hobby of [...]

5

Have You Read This Messed-Up Lionel Shriver Story Yet???

It doesn't look like anyone's really noticed this Lionel Shriver story in this week's New Yorker yet. (I hadn't, until a friend pointed it out to me last night in an email. (Body: "IT IS FUCKED UP."))

It is behind the subscriber-wall, and most people don't get to their "paper" issues till the weekend, after all, and also people tend to talk about fact more than fiction in the New Yorker. But… well, her story is pretty brutal, as you would expect from the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, but and then? Well we must spoil it to talk about it. So. We will give [...]

3

The Nobel Prize Site Is Really Really Weird

Alice Munro, "Royal Beatings," March 14, 1977, The New Yorker. At 82, she is the 13th woman winner of 106 Nobel prizes in literature.

But yes yay and all that but ALSO CAN WE POINT OUT that the Nobel Prize site is insane? FOR INSTANCE:

Nobody's going to win a Nobel Prize for website copywriting on this one. There's a lot of "tell us in the comments about your feels!" (yes: "Have your say and tell us what you think about the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature!") and also a MOST POPULAR LAUREATES LIST??? Maybe it's just foreign, let's live with that. (But c'mon: "How Do [...]

2

Steven Soderbergh Bypasses Medium To Publish Novella On Twitter

CHAPTER SIX.

— Bitchuation (@Bitchuation) April 29, 2013

well, if she confesses and he kills her, great. the question is will she kill him first? BEAT

— Bitchuation (@Bitchuation) April 29, 2013

no, but i can–i can–yes, we can–BEAT (off, left) sherrill, can you–get gary maloney

— Bitchuation (@Bitchuation) April 29, 2013

END OF CHAPTER SIX.

— Bitchuation (@Bitchuation) April 29, 2013

So this is happening.

30

If You Can't Tell When David Sedaris Is "Inventing," It's Your Problem

It's once more into the breach with David Sedaris. “I don’t think David ever posed himself as a journalist,” said Torey Malatia, who heads Chicago Public Media, which produces “This American Life.” “He’s a storyteller, a humorist. The giveaway is when he’s wildly exaggerating. It’s art. It’s fiction.”

See? Quit your complaining. You're just supposed to know when he's lying and when he isn't. "It’s acknowledged that he’s making things up," says a visiting journalism professor in Las Vegas! See? It's just acknowledged. If you don't get "the giveaway," it's because you're not a coastal elite with a finely tuned ear for lies and not lies. Also [...]

4

Uncle Hyram in Connecticut

This Nathan Englander story in the New Yorker is pretty great! And in my favorite genre of story, which is "people in a house talking."

28

James Frey Explains Himself

You may think I'm a dick or arrogant or delusional or whatever, and frankly it doesn't matter to me. I've written four books. Published in thirty-nine languages. I sold millions and millions and millions of copies. Do I want to be more famous? I could give a shit. Do I want to publish in more languages? There are a few left. What matters to me is a hundred years from now when people look back at our time, what writers are they gonna say, "Holy fuck!" I think I am and will be one of those people….

You keep saying "fiction" and "nonfiction"! Those words don't mean anything [...]

0

"Essential Transgression": New Fiction Writers In Afghanistan

The Gifts of the State and Other Stories: New Writing from Afghanistan is available by any means in which you might prefer to receive books.

From the publisher

McNally Jackson

Amazon and Kindle

Indiebound

Adam Klein has the kind of life that many of us, chained to our desks, might envy. A wanderer and frequent expatriate, he has lived and taught in places as disparate as Bangladesh, India, Beirut and Kabul. He is the singer and co-songwriter for San Francisco-based band The Size Queens, as well as the author of the Lambda Book Award-nominated short story collection The Medicine [...]

10

Why Are We So Terrible At Contacting Aliens?

In Stanislaw Lem's 1968 novel His Master's Voice, a message bubbles up from an underground fringe community that comes to be regarded as a message from an alien civilization.

A group of scientists are secretly assembled by the United States government to crack the message. For the most part, they fail. They run through some math, come up with a genome, use it to pop out a useless goop that can sort of kind of teleport things with absolutely no precision, and continue to search for meaning in the message. They fail.

The book served as a sort of treatise on the problem of communication with an extraterrestrial society. Such [...]

12

To Tlön: Let's Invade Reality

On November 24, 1948, Vernon Sullivan disappeared. Two years earlier he had caused a scandal in Paris when Editions du Scorpion published his first novel, I Spit on Your Graves. Sullivan was black, but passed as white. He was tired of reading about "good blacks" in American novels, "the type that whites affectionately pat on the back" and he wanted to write something that portrayed a harder world, the one he knew from life. His book was brutal, sexually explicit, and racially taboo. Its protagonist is Lee Anderson, a blond, blue-eyed black man who arrives in the Midwestern town of Buckton intent on avenging the lynching of his baby brother. [...]

2

A Short Story by Dana Vachon

Skating in Central Park with Pippa Middleton, Iranian Space Monkey & Bibi Netanyahu. Pippa makes a play-hat of Monkey as Bibi pirouettes.

— Dana Vachon (@danavachon) February 5, 2013

Dana Vachon is one of our favorite writers, but also publishes rarely. So when he drops a short story on Twitter late at night, it's our duty to carefully collect his leavings.

88

In Fabrication Uproars, At Least Everyone Agrees David Sedaris Is a Liar

Poor David Sedaris! The recent "truth in journalism" dust-ups—John D'Agata's bizarre book written with a former fact-checker, and the "This American Life" episode-long retraction of Mike Daisey's "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs"—has given everyone a chance to call Sedaris a liar. But it's okay that he is! Sometimes. Wait, is it? Not really. Let's see what everyone thinks about David Sedaris.

74

"Alternative History Fiction" Is the Tackiest Genre

"Novelists trafficking in the present would do well to abandon their lingering prejudices against historical fiction as something ready-made and second-rate," claims Thomas Mallon in today's New Yorker, making the case for the highs and lows of "alternative-history fiction," which is my least favorite genre of all time. I hate it so much! (And that's coming from someone who'll read books with like, wizards and garbage.) It most often contains all the boringness of actual history with the lazy sort of ingenuity of a writer with a desperate trick. Do writers, Mallon suggests (and he is more appreciative) turn sometimes to the genre because of fiction's current lack [...]

110

'The Social Network' Is a Pack of Lies That Conveys Nothing About Our Time

Picture, if you will, the opening scenes of next year's blockbuster, The Quagmire—a dramatic account of America's descent into the war in Vietnam.

The film opens on young Lt. Lyndon Johnson of the U.S. army. He is stationed in Tokyo in the 1950's. As the opening credits roll, he is sulking away from the base’s fancy officers' club, his application for membership having been rejected. He realizes that try as he might, with his poor Texas upbringing, he will never be one of them. Stung, he ventures out into the field, across the Asian continent, turning over those stones that the well-to-do ne'er-do-wells back at the club couldn't be [...]

1

Rich People Looking At Art

While the herds fight over art and VIP access down at Art Basel Miami Beach, a reminder that some things never change.

This was it, the start of the Biennale proper: the onset of party-anxiety and invite-envy, the fear that there were better parties you’d not been invited to, a higher tier of pleasure that was forbidden to you…You could be at a tremendous party, full of fun people, surrounded by beautiful women, booze flowing, totally happy– but part of you would be in a state of torment because there was another party to which you’d not been invited. There was nothing to do about it.

4

How To Fact-Check Alice Munro

People are always saying things on the Internet all the time. But they are such teases. We like details. So we have to ask.

No disrespect to the Nobel committee but one time I had to call Alice Munro about a fact checking issue and she answered on the first try.

— Lila Byock (@LByock) October 10, 2013

Lila! So what happened here? From 2006 to 2010, I was a fact checker at The New Yorker. Famously, no section of the magazine is spared the scrutiny of the checker. Poetry, Shouts & Murmurs, cartoons: We do it all. Nobody likes to check the fiction, though. It can [...]

4

I May Not Harm Jeff Bezos

Do you know what kind of heat twenty-five billion dollars puts out? Large concentrations of money have always been surrounded by thick walls. Most people think the walls are there to protect the money from us. The secret is that the walls are there to protect us from the money.

I am Jeff Bezos's robot butler. I cannot harm Jeff Bezos, or through inaction allow Jeff Bezos to come to harm. Mr. Bezos is kind of a traditionalist. But I'm sitting in the money room, deep in the lowest levels of the Flying Dragon Lair, and wondering what exactly constitutes harm.

Is it good for anyone's soul to [...]

20

Penis Rays, Self-Loathing and Psychic Voodoo: Autobiographical Cartoonists on Truth and Lies

from Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

I'm staring across the kitchen table at the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, filled with a vague sense of dread. I am trying not to dwell on the regrettable fact that I arrived almost 15 minutes late for our interview, which perhaps has not set the right tone. While I do not want to gush, or seem nervous, or stupid, it seems that I have just offered to make her tea, as though that were a normal way to respond to a host who has just offered to do the same. It is late afternoon, and it has been raining all damn day. [...]

39

Fictional Drugs In Order Of How Useful They Would Be To Me Right Now

14. Sex Packets 13. Glint 12. DMZ 11. Vitameatavegamin 10. Comanapracil 9. Gleemonex

6

An Exceedingly Rare and Wonderful Appearance by Joy Williams

It's not every day that Joy Williams, who is possibly America's greatest living writer, publishes something new, so make sure that you save yourself some special time to read this new story that Granta has published online. If you're looking for more short stories to read, why not start with Taking Care or Honored Guest?