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The Paris Review No. 186, Fall 2008

Purchase this Issue $30.00

Marilynne Robinson on the art of fiction: “I write novels quickly, which is not my reputation.”

Colum McCann describes a high-wire act at the World Trade Center: “they wanted the man to save himself, step backwards into the arms of the cops instead of the sky.”

Jean Hatzfeld interviews the killers and survivors of the genocide in Rwanda after a presidential amnesty brings them back together.

New fiction from Jesse Ball and Benjamin Markovits.

Fall poetry by Mary Jo Bang, Robert Bly, and more; photographs from Iran by Mohsen Rastani and Abbas Kowsari.

Plus, in honor of our fifty-fifth anniversary, an oral history of the earliest days of The Paris Review by George Plimpton, William Styron, and more.

Table of Contents


Jesse Ball, Archon LLC

Benjamin Markovits, Another Sad, Bizarre Chapter in Human History  Full Text

Colum McCann, Phreak


Marilynne Robinson, The Art of Fiction No. 198  Full Text


Hans Arp, The Swallow's Testicle

Mary Jo Bang, Two Poems

Robert Bly, Two Poems

Beau Friedlander, Old Apples

Paul Guest, Two Poems

Kimiko Hahn, On Being Coy

Ben Lerner, from Mean Free Path  Full Text

Eugenio Montejo, Winter Trees Cough Like Old Men

Ed Skoog, October

Bruce Smith, Two Poems

David St. John, Three Jade Dice


Nelson W. Aldrich, Jr., Paris Days  Full Text


Abbas Kowsari, Dragnet Tehran

Mohsen Rastani, Iranian Family Portraits


Jean Hatzfeld, Together Again