"Language starts to shut down the strength and power and strangeness of what it means to be a person in the world." At The Rumpus, Ben Marcus discusses how he uses language in his writing and his new short story collection, Leaving the Sea (featured in our 2014 book preview.) Pair with: Our own Adam Boretz’s interview with Marcus and our review of The Flame Alphabet.
I say one rather than a name because parents of twins learn that there are two babies but three identities: one for each baby, and then the twin identity, an amorphous, shared mass of personality and action that makes Amelia fuss one night and Olivia the next.
"A story works when there’s momentum, life behind the words," Mary Miller told Matthew Salesses at The Rumpus. She needs that momentum for her new novel, The Last Days of California, about a family driving to California for the rapture. Also, Amy Butcher wrote about her favorite Millerisms at Hobart.
Almost a year ago, Emily Rapp’s son Ronan passed away from Tay-Sachs disease. At The Rumpus, Rapp discusses her loss and how it affects her current pregnancy. “A boy was born in the world, already doomed by genetics, in March 2010. A girl, if all goes well, will be born in the world in March 2014, and born to do what?”
If you exist for a long enough time on the Internet, you’ll lead lots of different lives there. You’ll become known first for one thing, and then, if you’re lucky, another. Creative life on the Internet is long, and made up of a bunch of bright intense bursts. Eyeballs all turn your way at once, and then they turn away. This all may add up to a certain kind of fame, but I think a better way of looking at it is that you just become part of the Internet’s furniture. People sit on you, people lie down on you and cry, people let their dogs put muddy paws all over you, people forget you in favor of another couch, people discover you again.
The short story is like an exquisite painting and you might, when looking at this painting, be wondering what came before or after, but you are fully absorbed in what you’re seeing.
"While the revolutionary milieu that was the source of many of the book’s events may have vanished, we have our own milieu." At The Rumpus, Will Augerot re-evaluates John Dos Passos’s The USA Trilogy. He concludes that Dos Passos is more relevant than ever. Pair with: Our essay on the polyphonic novel.
At The Rumpus, Shawn Andrew Mitchell reviews Dark Lies the Island, the new short story collection by the Irish writer Kevin Barry. Mitchell quotes a number of the book’s more interesting idioms and perceives “an impolitic decadence to how Barry couples his words.” (Related: we interviewed Barry a few weeks ago.)