Monthly Archives: August 2015

In the Fall Issue

Issue No. 104 continues our 30th anniversary celebration with a portfolio of art by the late, great artist Jay DeFeo, a new story by best-selling author Glen David Gold (his first piece of fiction in more than five years), and much more, including: April Ayers Lawson’s “Vulnerability”: The married artist comes to New York to visit two interested men, unclear about her intentions. Anthony Marra’s “The Last Words of Benito Picone”: A Buick sends him high above Market Street, and he lands in the everlasting company of a Soviet émigré and a young addict. Patricia Engel’s “Ramiro”: Are there second chances for a …Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Trapped in a Town Without Pity: ‘Eileen’ by Ottessa Moshfegh

Eileen (260 Pages; Penguin Press), the new novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, examines the moment of change in a life marred by self-hate, servitude, and isolation. Eileen Dunlop is a twenty-four year-old woman who plays caretaker to her alcoholic father, for whom “the worst thing [Eileen] could commit … was to do anything for [her] own pleasure, anything outside of [her] own daughterly duties.” A gun toting retired cop, he is harassed by imagined “hooligans” day and night. The gun thus established in the first act, we await its discharge in the third. But in the meantime, Moshfegh ekes out the …Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Short Story Master Rediscovered: ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’ by Lucia Berlin

By any estimation, writer Lucia Berlin led a full life. As a small child growing up in 1940s Texas, she fended for herself against an abusive grandfather while her mother remained a distant figure. Her glamorous teen years were spent in Chile among wealthy expatriates, attending dances and other high society functions after her father struck it rich in the mining industry. As an adult, Berlin frequently moved across the United States and Mexico, including a lengthy stay in the Bay Area. Along the way, she married three husbands, mothered four sons, and held an array of  jobs–from cleaning woman …Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Always More Stories to Tell: Q&A with ‘Landfalls’ Author Naomi J. Williams

Naomi J. Williams’s first novel, Landfalls (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 336 pages), follows the Lapérouse expedition, whose two ships and nearly two hundred sailors left France in 1785 on a global trek to explore and fraternize in the name of science, God, and country. Although they never made it back, vanishing in the Pacific several years later, firsthand accounts and historical scholarship of the voyage remain. From the available facts, Williams has fashioned a smart, surprisingly hilarious, unusual, and moving story less concerned with maritime adventure—although Landfalls is an exciting and enjoyable read—than with carefully imagined dynamics of petty squabbles …Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Knowing Yourself All Too Well: A Conversation about ‘The End of the Tour’

The End of the Tour, the recently released drama directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg, is based on interviews with the late author David Foster Wallace, conducted by Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky, who joined Wallace during the last five days of the Infinite Jest book tour in 1996. Segel, an actor generally known for his comedic roles in movies such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets, portrays Wallace, opposite Eisenberg (The Social Network, ) who plays Lipsky. The film itself draws from Lipsky’s 2010 memoir, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster …Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Self-Deceptions of Nostalgia and Addiction: ‘Black Hole’ by Bucky Sinister

“The moment you buy your drugs, they start to run out.” Such is the dilemma of Chuck, the middle-aged, rundown narrator of Bucky Sinister’s first novel, Black Hole (Soft Skull Press; 181 pages). Perpetually strung out on all manner of narcotic, former punk rocker Chuck is dismayed to find himself “the freak in the corner” at parties where everyone is half his age. He inhabits a San Francisco much like our own—rapidly changing, driven by a booming tech industry—but ever so off-kilter. Bucky Sinister draws influence from the work of visionary science-fiction author Phillip K. Dick in crafting an alternate …Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment