Essays

January 9, 2013

Jeffrey Eugenides’s Killer Advice 16

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What exactly is Eugenides’ “absurdly good advice,” and is it, upon further reflection, in fact “fucking excellent”?

January 8, 2013

Laugh, and The Book Club Laughs With You 19

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Has motherhood made us incapable of putting literary tragedy in its proper perspective? Or are we just…tired?

January 3, 2013

My New Year’s Resolution: Read Fewer Books 51

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I’m a genius, I’ve been quietly telling myself for the past 13 years, and nobody even knows it.

January 2, 2013

The Obscure Early Lives of the Artists 5

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It turns out that if you want to stalk Harper Lee, you have to bring serious A game: the last person to do it rented the house next door — it was on the market.

December 28, 2012

Flowers in the Desert: Patrick White at 100 5

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As the 20th century finishes receding, we will have to interrogate its artistic legacies and decide which few to carry with us further into the 21st, rescuing them from the Flood that will wash the rest away. Patrick White should be among these few.

November 28, 2012

A Backward Glance at the ‘Brooklyn Renaissance’ 16

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Mock all you want, but for the moment, if you want to write literary fiction or poetry, Brooklyn is still the place to be.

November 28, 2012

Dispatch from the Edge of Literary Culture 11

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In the process of becoming what you want to be, you realize who you are. We had to move to Columbus, Ohio, in order to discover our identity as a press.

November 21, 2012

Thankful for Such Friends 4

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What constitutes friendship? What defines it? Proximity? Duration? Frequency?

November 15, 2012

The March of Progress Is Never Neat: Merle Miller’s On Being Different 1

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If Miller’s book is an argument for dignity and acceptance, it is also an argument against politeness. It is an argument against letting stray homophobic remarks from your liberal friends just go in the interest of keeping the evening pleasant. It is an argument against letting someone change the topic of conversation when they tell you they feel uncomfortable about gay marriage. It’s an argument for demanding the part of the territory to which you are entitled.

November 7, 2012

Double Take: A Momentary Encounter With a Murderer and his Fictional Likeness 2

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One evening a couple of weeks ago, I passed a murderer in the front square of Trinity College Dublin. It was Malcolm MacArthur, a man in his late sixties who spent the last thirty years in prison for killing two strangers in July of 1982. He is arguably the most notorious murderer in Ireland’s notoriously murderous history.