Articles by Lydia Kiesling

October 12, 2015

I’ve Rarely Felt So Free: The Millions Interviews Garth Risk Hallberg 9

You know this as a writer — it’s mostly torture. You have those days when you say, ‘This was a great day! The writing went well!’ And then if you actually paused and walked back through the writing hour by hour you would realize, ‘No, it was still mostly torture, but it was a kind of exquisite and joyous torture on this day, as opposed to the gray horrible torture that it is on most days.’

August 27, 2015

Flamed but Not Forgotten: On Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Purity’ 33

The big stuff, globally speaking, is never really what matters in Franzen’s novels — not nearly so much as love, anyway.

July 28, 2015

Beautiful Babies 3

I want her to feel unencumbered by anyone’s opinion of her beauty or lack thereof. And yet I also want her to feel beautiful, to wear whatever she wants, to luxuriate in a sense that her chosen mate finds her irresistible, to never fear a dressing room or bathing suit or florescent light.

June 30, 2015

Two Lives: On Hanya Yanagihara and Atticus Lish 7

In Yanagihara’s novel, squalor and degradation are the ruinous individual exception in a world of summer houses and talent and hard work that gets you somewhere; in Lish’s, they are the baseline condition of the life we have made on our planet.

March 2, 2015

On Forgetting: Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Buried Giant’ 5

At some moments, I felt I had found an apocryphal eighth Chronicle of Narnia, written by a particularly cheerless, possibly aphasic disciple of C.S. Lewis.

January 26, 2015

I Would Do This for You: The Narrative Possibilities of Leaked Emails 3

Wikileaks and the news media were interested in these emails for their geopolitical implications, but they also represent a veritable cornucopia of narrative pleasures, all the more delectable because they are strange and secret and real.

December 6, 2014

A Year in Reading: Lydia Kiesling 6

I am writing this on a Friday, and I’m supposed to have a baby on Tuesday.

October 6, 2014

Modern Library Revue: #43 Dance to the Music of Time 3

Instead of Mary or Jesus or anybody, I suddenly thought only of Anthony Powell, whose beautiful Dance to the Music of Time I was then rereading, and felt an overwhelmingly sense that this is really all we get–that if everything else is taken away, the beauty of someone’s vision of the world is our meager but abiding solace for being in the world.

September 3, 2014

Back from the Land: The Millions Interviews Donald Antrim 5

My ambition is to disappear entirely, as much as I can, from a reader’s awareness.

May 27, 2014

Modern Library Revue: #38 Howards End 4

Just before Forster’s novel I read Austerlitz, a book whose construction around a portentous negative space has the effect of drawing neighboring books into its central darkness, like a dying star. Everything becomes tinged with this darkness.