In connection with my new short story in The Paris Review, I wrote a short essay about Raymond Carver and the Pet Shop Boys for Redux, the Paris Review’s newsletter about revisiting its archives. I believe the newsletter with my essay in it is going to go out this weekend, so if you’d like to read it, sign up for Redux here!
This blog is intended to be just a transparent attempt to drum up interest in my stories and novels, so please check the story out! And also my other recent story, “The Ellipse Maker,” in the spring issue of n+1. Support me—and the literary community generally—by subscribing to both magazines!
(Also dropping today: a review by me of Paul Goldberg’s novel The Dissident, for the New York Times Book Review.)
“Under a nationwide law passed in 1957, overnight street parking of any sort is completely illegal. So if you were to somehow buy a car with no place to store it, you could not simply park it on the street, because it would get towed the next morning, and you would get fined 200,000 yen (around $1,700). In fact, most street parking of any sort is illegal. There are a few exceptions, but more than 95 percent of Japanese streets have no street parking at all, even during the day.” —Daniel Knowles, “How Tokyo Became an Anti-Car Paradise,” Heatmap, 11 April 2023
“An estimated 100 million Americans have medical debts. Their bills make up about half of all outstanding debt in the country.” —Sarah Kliff and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, “This Nonprofit Health System Cuts Off Patients With Medical Debt,” New York Times, 3 June 2023
“The site of the former jail where the murders took place in Randolph County, Mo. The jail is now a family home.” —caption for a photo in Julie Bosman, “The Jurors Sentenced a Missouri Man to Death. Now Some Are Not So Sure,”New York Times, 4 June 2023
“The driver pushed a woman [named Alicia] onto the street, then drove off. Crying, screaming and intoxicated, she had no money or identification and did not seem to know where she was. . . . It was her 23rd birthday. She . . . had paranoid schizophrenia and kept insisting on going to Rite-Aid. Dana Rachlin, executive director of a Brooklyn-based public safety organization, bought Alicia Chinese food to calm her. As she ate her meal, Ms. Rachlin called the city’s mental health hotline. She waited while on hold for 10 minutes before someone told her it would be 24 hours before a team could come, and that she could call the police. Ms. Rachlin rolled her eyes and hung up.” —Maria Cramer, “What Happened When a Brooklyn Neighborhood Policed Itself for Five Days,” New York Times, 4 June 2023
“Paleontologists now suspect that the ancestor of all dinosaurs had feathers. And recent discoveries hint that feathers preceded dinosaurs.” —Carl Zimmer, “How Did Birds First Take Off?” New York Times, 3 June 2023
“He became preoccupied with the mechanics of surveillance: he wanted jobs where he could punch into a clock, his movements recorded by cameras in each room. The idea of just being loose in the world, without a method of proving where he had been, was such a source of terror that sometimes he imagined he’d feel less anxiety if he was back in a jail cell.” —Rachel Aviv, “The Tortured Bond of Alice Sebold and the Man Wrongfully Convicted of Her Rape,” The New Yorker, 29 May 2023
“ ‘In his 62 years on this planet, the mayor has experienced more than 32 million moments, the vast majority of which have not been documented by even the most zealous members of the New York City press corps,’ Mr. Levy said, apparently suggesting that Mr. Adams has, on average, had a moment for each minute of his life.” —Emma G. Fitzsimmons, “Mayor Adams Loves a Good Tale. Some of Them May Be Tall,” New York Times, 1 June 2023
“The Ellipse Maker,” a new short story of mine, is in the spring 2023 issue n+1magazine. Check it out! Subscribe! If you’re within striking distance of Brooklyn, there’s a reading/party for the issue at the n+1 office on Tuesday, May 16, 7pm.
More entries in an online commonplace book
“The difference between the artists’ work is like the difference between a grand aristocratic portrait and a psychologically nuanced character sketch. Audubon gets the dress and regalia right, and his birds project a powerful, self-fashioning sense of their own presence and importance. Brasher’s birds live contentedly in their own world and don’t need to perform or impress the viewer.” —Philip Kennicott on Rex Brasher in WaPo
“Writing had always been slow and agonising—she called it ‘the most loathsome of all activities’—but that was before the decline in her health made it all but impossible. Perhaps she also disliked the implied finality of ‘collected works.’ She took her friend’s copy of the book, picked up a pencil and added a word to the cover. It was now The Collected Works of Dead Jane Bowles.” —Joe Dunthorne on Jane Bowles in the LRB
“Where the mainsail should have been, four rigid sails stuck straight up into the air, like window blinds turned vertically; each one had the shape of an airfoil and generated forward thrust. They also allowed him to carve the wind with more control than a cloth sail would allow: instead of turning the entire boat at an angle to catch the wind, by either tacking or jibing, Walker could simply spin a crank, and the wings above his head would swivel into a configuration that would drive the boat forward, sideways, or even in reverse.” —Pagan Kennedy in the New Yorker on the possible return of the Age of Sail
“As a writer, while his recurring subject is himself—he continues to probe his self-doubts and proclivities, always finding some new angle from which to contemplate the vagaries of his own thought process—he somehow keeps himself at a distance, an object of detached contemplation in a world of other objects, other bodies. His self-disclosure provides a relief from the burden of self.” —Geoffrey O’Brien on Joe Brainard in the NYRB
A poem of mine, “Sallies,” is in the 9 February 2023 issue of the New York Review of Books. It’s the first one by me ever published somewhere other than on this blog, I’m pretty sure.
A new short story of mine, “In the Maid’s Room,” is published online today at the Yale Review.