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Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian, Or the Evening Redness in the West

Like the eminent scholar who introduces the Modern Library edition of Blood Meridian (1985), on previous attempts I failed to read this book through due to the violence.  It’s on every page.  While I recognized the quality of what I was reading, I just wasn’t in the mood for it at the time. …

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Janet Frame: “Gavin Highly”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Janet Frame’s “Gavin Highly” was originally published in the April 5, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. Since Janet Frame died in 2004 we’ve been seeing a few of her works published posthumously. I am not…

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Evelyn Waugh: A Handful of Dust

I have several Waugh novels sitting on my shelf due to my sudden infatuation with his writing in late 2008.  Just those two books made me start boasting that Waugh was one of my favorite authors.  After over a year of neglect, I decided it was time to visit Waugh again and…

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The Lost Man Booker Prize Shortlist

The names familiar to me from the longlist were the ones that made it to the shortlist of six.  But I haven’t read any of these books: Nina Bawden: The Birds on the Trees J.G. Farrell: Troubles Shirley Hazzard: The Bay of Noon Patrick White: The Vivisector Mary Renault: Fire…

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PEN/Faulkner Winner Announced

Sherman Alexie has won this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for War Dances.  I haven’t read it, but I have enjoyed Alexie’s work before.  Click here for the full press release.

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Joyce Carol Oates: “I.D.”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Joyce Carol Oates’ “I.D.” was originally published in the March 29, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. It’s been over a year since Oates showed up in these pages, though she often has several published in…

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John Cheever: Falconer

I love John Cheever’s short fiction.  Over the years I’ve made my way through quite a bit of The Stories of John Cheever, that massive collection of his short stories that won the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the various years surrounding its publication in 1978. …

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The Clock at the Biltmore — J. F. Powers: “Death of a Favorite”

J.F. Powers is one author who frequently is called “criminally neglected.”  I am definitely guilty of that neglect, but here is the beginning of my repentance process — and what a bizarre story to repent with!  I didn’t know this, but J.F. Powers wrote many stories about priests.  It was when…

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Orange Prize Longlist

Today the Orange Prize longlist was announced, along with some criticism from the chair about the abundance of miserable novels offered up for consideration this year.  The shortlist will be announced April 20.  Here is the list — I have read not a one, but some look very good: Clare…

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Tobias Wolff: In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War

I had wanted to wait to read Wolff’s In Pharaoh’s Army (1994), a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction in 1994.  I wanted to wait because besides his short stories, most of which I’ve now read, this was it until Wolff’s next novel is published.  But I couldn’t, because…

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Junot Díaz: “The Pura Principle”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Junot Díaz’s “The Pura Principle” was originally published in the March 22, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. I still haven’t quite determined whether I liked or didn’t like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. …

Imre Kertesz

Imre Kertész: The Union Jack

Trevor reviews Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész’s The Union Jack. Read the full post.

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National Book Critics Circle Award Winner

The fiction winner for the National Book Critics Circle Award is Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall.  I am interested in the book, especially now, and I will read it someday.

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Best Translated Book Award Winner

The winner of Three Percent’s Best Translated Book is Gail Hareven’s The Confessions of Noa Weber, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu and published by Melville House. If it’s better than Ghosts and The Tanners, two of my top ten books of last year, then it’s a must read….

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David Means: “The Knocking”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. David Means’ “The Knocking” was originally published in the March 15, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. This week’s story is a shorty.  In fact, because it was so short, when I had ten minutes to…

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Penelope Fitzgerald: Offshore

I was wary of Penelope Fitzgerald.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps it’s something about an author publishing her first four novels in four years.  But to offset that, this outburst of fiction (The Golden Child, 1977; The Bookshop, 1978; Offshore, 1979; and Human Voices, 1980) began when she was sixty years old…

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The Clock at the Biltmore — Irwin Shaw: “Preach on the Dusty Roads”

An interesting part of going through old issues of The New Yorker is seeing how the stories dealt with the then-current events.  The last Clock at the Biltmore – Christopher Isherwood’s “I Am Waiting” – featured the anxiety of 1939 when World War II was about to begin; there the character goes five years…

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Book Award New: Cybils

I’m not sure if this award is on your radar.  It wasn’t on mine until recently, and in fact I missed the announcement by a longshot (it was February 14).  It’s only a few years old, but I like how it was formed.  Basically several bloggers who wrote about children’s and…

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Gerbrand Bakker: The Twin

I started reading The Twin (Boven is het stil, 2006; tr. from the Dutch by David Colmer, 2008) a couple of different times in the last few months.  I had a hard time getting beyond the book’s first few painful pages.  There Bakker highlights, with subtle but excruciating prose, a son’s cruelty…

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Jennifer Egan: “Ask Me If I Care”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Jennifer Egan’s “Ask Me If I Care” was originally published in the March 8, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. The first author to have two pieces of fiction published in 2010 is Jennifer Egan —…