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Tom Rachman: The Imperfectionists

For some time, KevinfromCanada has been recommending that I read The Imperfectionists (2010).  A few weeks ago, my wife and children went on a trip leaving me home alone.  I had just finished Maile Meloy’s wonderful short story collection and, sadly, nothing I had on my shelves appealed at that…

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Téa Obreht: “Blue Water Djinn”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Téa Obreht’s “Blue Water Djinn” was originally published in the August 2, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. Last year Obreht had a snippet of her forthcoming novel published in the debut fiction issue.  She’s very…

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2010 Man Booker Longlist Announced

The Man Booker Prize 2010 season is off!  Only five of the thirteen titles are currently available in your U.S. bookstore (maybe).  Most of the others have publication dates in the next few months, but there are a few that didn’t seem to have any publication plans in the United…

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Peter Carey: Parrot and Olivier in America

Tomorrow the Man Booker Prize longlist will be announced.  Last year I didn’t go out and read the books as I did in 2008, though I have collected all of the 2009 shortlisted titles – with the exception of the ultimate winner.  While I don’t know how much I’ll get involved in…

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Maile Meloy: Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It

I grew up in a very small town in Idaho.  The nearest big city was Salt Lake City, 250 miles south — and even it’s not a big city.  Now that I work in New York City, now that 25 miles is a big distance (it seems to take the same…

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Karen Russell: “The Dredgeman’s Revelation”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Karen Russell’s “The Dredgeman’s Revelation” was originally published in the July 26, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. Karen Russell is one of the youngest writers in the “20 Under 40″ crowd. She was 25 when her…

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Elias Khoury: White Masks

While growing up I often heard about the fighting in Lebanon, though I was too young to understand just what that meant.  It occupied a large part of my young imagination, but when I was older and learned the basics of the conflict, I never bothered to look into specifics. …

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Muriel Spark: Not to Disturb

Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat was so strange, so not what I was expecting from the author of The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie, that I couldn’t wait to find out what else she had up her sleeve.  There are quite a few to choose from, and unfortunately I don’t…

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The Clock at the Biltmore — Vladimir Nabokov: “Colette”

A few weeks ago The New Yorker had a story about some books that were on display.  These books had been in the personal collection of various famous authors, and all contained interesting marginalia.  One was Nabokov’s edition of a collection of New Yorker short stories from the 1950s.  In…

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Bolaño and Walser Winners!

Using random.org I plugged in the appropriate numbers for the Bolaño/Walser giveaway.  Though both winners have their own blogs, I promise that was not a condition of winning — it was all random.org’s doing.  Also, one winner was a brand-new commenter whose first comment was for this contest.  The other…