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David Foster Wallace: “Backbone”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.  “Backbone” was originally published in The New Yorker‘s March 7, 2011, issue. Well, I still haven’t finished last week’s story (you can see how excited I am to read it — as if any of the comments have been…

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Jacques Chessex: A Jew Must Die

Since the Best Translated Book Awardlonglist was announced, I have been slowly going over the list and considering which I wanted to read at this stage.  One of the first I picked up (it’s very very short) was Jacques Chessex’s provocatively titled (at least in English; not so much in…

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Saïd Sayrafiezadeh: “Paranoia”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Saïd Sayrafiezadeh’s “Paranoia” was first published in The New Yorker‘s February 28, 2011, issue. I haven’t read this story yet because I’m deeply engaged in a few other reading projects…

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Dezsö Kosztolányi: Kornél Esti

Last year, Dezsö Kosztolányi’s wonderful Skylark – a tale about an unfortunately ugly girl’s relationship with her parents, a relationship that changes dramatically when she goes away for a couple of weeks — just missed being in my year end “best of” list.  If I were writing the list today, in fact,…

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John O’Hara: Appointment in Samarra

I don’t know much about John O’Hara, other than that during his lifetime he was frequently published in The New Yorker and that of the books he wrote a couple are still frequently brought up, BUtterfield 8 and, his first, Appointment in Samarra (1934).  I went into the bookstore looking for BUtterfield 8, but, when…

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Gert Hofmann: Lichtenberg & the Little Flower Girl

I have been meaning to read the late Gert Hofmann’s Lichtenberg & the Little Flower Girl (Kleine Stechardin, 1994; tr. from the German by Michael Hofmann, 2004) ever since John Self reviewed it on his blog (click here for his review).  John’s review spoke of charm, yet, mixed in the review, is a disturbing…

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Herman Melville: Bartleby the Scrivener

“I would prefer not to.”  How long has that phrase haunted me because I didn’t know what it meant to literature!  I confess: I had never read Melville’s short masterpiece, Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street (1853).  I’m not sure why not.  After all, I’m a fan of American fiction.  I’m…

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Mary Gaitskill: “The Other Place”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.  “The Other Place” was originally published in The New Yorker‘s February 14 & 21, 2011, issue. I’m familiar only with Mary Gaitskill’s reputation: great, dark writing about taboo topics.  I am not aware of having read any of…

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Cormac McCarthy: The Orchard Keeper

For my seventh venture into McCarthy’s novels, I chose his debut (I’m apparently on a debut streak right now) The Orchard Keeper (1965).  For me, this was his most difficult yet, perhaps because much of the time I didn’t really feel like I knew what was going on and didn’t…

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Tessa Hadley: “Honor”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Tessa Hadley’s “Honor” was first published in The New Yorker‘s February 7, 2011, issue. I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Tessa Hadley’s short fiction.  She’s frequently in The…