Posts Tagged: fiction

Having the Best-Selling Cake and Eating the Review, Too: An Interview With Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is a #1 New York Times bestselling writer whose eleventh novel All Fall Down came out yesterday. All Fall Down’s protagonist is Allison, a housewife whose respectable suburban existence conceals a growing addiction to pills. (Like Orphan Black's excellent character who shares her name, this Allison is also funny, shockingly capable and occasionally more than slightly delusional.) I read the book straight through without putting it down once, over the course of a sunny Sunday morning, and talked to Weiner over email afterward.

Your newest protagonist is a blogger! She writes for a sex and relationships site called, and part of her excuse for her pill habit [...]


Afternoon Fiction: Kjerstin Johnson, "Employee Discount"

You smooth your new slacks. The tag says “Express,” but you bought them at TJ Maxx, the one just across from the Barnes & Noble, at the Kirkland mall. You are not allowed to wear jeans at Barnes & Noble, or sneakers, or logos of any sort. This is in the “Welcome to Our Team” employee handbook you received last week. You raise your head when Daniel, the store manager, begins to read over the numbers from yesterday. This is your first morning staff meeting and you do not know what these numbers mean. Some are big, like 27,000. Others are small, like 3.022 percent. The other employees nod or [...]


Literally a Quick Longread

He was on his office line explaining Isaac and Danny’s absence from morning classes when his cell went off, the special home ringtone that he never ignored. “Hang on a sec,” he said to the school secretary.

“They go out!” Bonita said without preamble. “No here!”

“Are the boys at school?” he asked the secretary.

“No, sir.”

An hour, Bonita guessed, when he asked how long they’d been gone. As was always the case when he and Bonita spoke to each other—neither remotely fluent in the other’s language—the information exchange was crude yet functional. It was she who’d phoned him to report his wife’s car crash, she who’d fielded the [...]


Dinner Theatre: David Byrne and Annie Clark

As we all found out last week and have endlessly fantasized about since, St. Vincent and David Byrne are officially collaborating on an LP, touring together, and ostensibly having conversations with each other.

This, being too magical, was never supposed to happen. But it has. And now, each night, while the rest of us sit around wearing hoodies and gnawing on gristle, Annie Clark and David Byrne dine together in matching Sevile Row suits, reflecting on the fruits of their in-studio labors.

Below is an account of one of their least interesting dinners thus far.

David Byrne: Great stuff today.

Annie Clark: I think so. That final chord [...]


A Scary Story by Laura van den Berg: "The river freezes. The child is everywhere, all the time."

At Gigantic Magazine, the Mini-Monster Issue features an interview with the wonderful writer Kelly Link on The Vampire Diaries and the satisfaction of narrative perversion ("In fiction, at least, there's a kind of cathartic, discomfiting joy—a pain/pleasure—in people behaving badly") as well as this wonderfully spare, short and spooky story called "Child," by Laura van den Berg.

In the new house, we hear strange noises downstairs. It sounds like someone is running circles in the dining room. In bed, we listen to the rush of footsteps, the squeaking floorboards. This house is surrounded by large, hunched trees. We have accepted that things are going to [...]


You May Not Necessarily Want to Sleep With Todd

Why not read "Todd" by Etgar Keret, one of the best short story writers working today?

I met Todd at a reading he organized in Denver. When he talked about the stories he loved that evening, he became so excited that he began to stammer. He has a lot of passion, that Todd, and a lot of energy, and it’s obvious that he doesn’t really know where to channel it all. We didn’t get to talk a lot, but I saw right away that he was a smart person and a mentsch. Someone you could depend on. Todd is the kind of person you want beside you in a [...]


An Exclusive Excerpt From James M. Cain's Lost Last Novel, 'The Cocktail Waitress'

The late 'Mildred Pierce' and 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' author's final novel apparently moldered for decades in his deceased agent's old files before a crime-books editor tracked it down. Exciting! Also, apparently true. The novel, which tells the story of a beautiful young widow who's "forced to take a job serving drinks in a cocktail lounge to make ends meet" comes out next week. Here's some of it. Note: it gets a little racy.

The Wigwam looked normal enough on the outside, just a double door with a sign over it, which Tom pushed open as though he’d been there before. But inside, it seemed different from any club [...]


"You could love someone simply because he stepped forward and spoke."

Electric Literature's latest Recommended Reading pick, like Lindsay Hunter's Peggy Paula story of a few weeks ago, is a short and staggering piece of new fiction. "At the Fairmont" by Peter Orner details five days of thrilling, unstuck autonomy in a woman's life as she waits from her husband to come back from the war—and, upon his return, the resulting sense of thick physical finality that decouples love from expectation, and sets both ideas off at sharp angles, forever askew.

His voice echoing, booming off all that shiny porcelain. “What a life, what a life.” And what surprised her most was how unvoracious he was. She’d prepared [...]


A Christmas Story

The old nativity scene we put up on the church lawn was made of white plastic that lit up at night, bright slashes of paint for beards and eyes and hair. The figures — one Mary, one Joseph, one Jesus, two shepherds, one angel, three wise Men, and a camel — had always glowed cheap and cheerful under their straw hutch. And they were light enough that it only took a couple volunteers from the youth group to set them up (and untangle their wires, and enjoy the scene with hot apple cider in little styrofoam cups).

This year, though, the plastic figurines had flickered and then gone dark [...]


"The world holds a pistol to your head."

Ilana Sichel has a fantastic interview with Libyan novelist and Booker Prize shortlistee Hisham Matar over at Fiction Writers Review, which is a bit of a bookend to that essay of Uzodinma Iweala's we were discussing earlier this week.

I admire intellectuals but I don’t feel I am one. I think of myself as an artist who is using words.

There are so many different definitions of an intellectual, but one of the possible definitions is sort of a moralist in the French tradition, the sense that you are attending to current events and calling things by their name. I’ve done a lot of this recently, but I [...]