Monthly Archives: March 2016

In the Spring/Summer Issue

Issue No. 106 offers for your enjoyment more of the country’s finest stories, poetry, essays, and visual art: Ariel Dorfman’s “Amboise”: A long-time couple’s trip to France, in which perhaps only one of them will return from. Soma Mei Sheng Frazier’s “Clutter”: A riot of memories and thoughts pulls a stroke victim through the past and the present. Lou Mathew’s “Last Dance”: Can a widower find it in himself to grant his annoying neighbor (who makes a mean tamale) a beseeched courtesy? Ashley Nelson Levy’s “Auntie”: A teen daughter makes room in more ways than one for her mother’s dying …Continue reading

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ZYZZYVA Interview Series: Tom Bissell

Tom Bissell (whose story “Love Story, With Cocaine” appeared in ZYZZYVA No. 92) is the award-winning author of several books, including the story collection God Lives in St. Petersburg, the memoir The Father of All Things, the essay collection Magic Hours, and Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. His newest book is Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve (Pantheon). Kirkus (in a starred review) described Apostle as a “rich, contentious, and challenging book …  a deep dive into the heart of the New Testament, crossing continents and cross-referencing texts.” ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon spoke with Bissell about …Continue reading

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Aftermath of Greek Crisis: ‘Something Will Happen, You’ll See’ by Christos Ikonomou

In the aftermath of Greece’s 2010 debt crisis, amid the hardship in his country, Christos Ikonomou wrote Something Will Happen, You’ll See (Archipelago Books, 250 pages, translated by Karen Emmerich). A recipient of some of Greece’s highest literary honors, as well as praise from across Europe, Ikonomou’s collection of interconnected stories focuses on people with barely a hope for attaining something better than what they’ve been given: a son stays up all night to watch the streets so his neighbors can get some sleep; a group of elderly industrial workers, recently laid off, huddle around an oil-drum fire outside the …Continue reading

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Fake Autobiography, Genuine Examination: ‘Gone with the Mind’ by Mark Leyner

In an interview with The Paris Review, Mark Leyner, author of such postmodern classics as Et Tu, Babe?, said, “I think there has to be some kind of crisis before I really feel there’s a book I should write.” In his new book, the fictional autobiography Gone with the Mind (Little, Brown and Company, 250 pages), Leyner shows us that his biggest crisis is his own life. Gone with the Mind is an existential, experimental autobiography that covers, with broad absurd strokes, the course of Leyner’s life up to the present. The story begins at a food court, somewhere between …Continue reading

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When the Only Escape Is Through Fantasy: ‘The Seven Madmen’ by Roberto Arlt

Roberto Arlt’s The Seven Madmen (New York Review Books, 272 pages; translated by Nick Caistor) is a thriller, a crime drama, a dystopian revolution novel, a metafictional meditation, a tragic romance, and a revenge tale all in one. Julio Cortazar, who provides the introduction in the New York Review Books edition, is correct in saying Arlt’s novel throws off any “literariness”—its schizophrenic characters and arrangement are too emotionally raw, too erratic in theme and direction for it to be a “traditional” novel, especially for when it was written in 1929. (Some of the novel’s formal choices, such as the use …Continue reading

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