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This Week’s Reading

Staff Picks: Lord of Misrule, Irish Tweets

November 19, 2010 | by

If you can get your hands on Lord of Misrule, the novel by Wednesday’s National Book Award winner Jaimy Gordon, let me know (Amazon doesn’t count). In the meantime, check out this interview with her in Gargoyle Magazine that took place sometime in 1983. —Thessaly La Force

Amid all of the bleak Ireland-is-down-the-toilet-again talk emanating from across the Atlantic (often via those miserly analysts at Standard & Poor’s), I was tickled and cheered by a short piece in The Irish Times in which readers tweeted their favorite things about the country. I found myself laughing and nodding in agreement as I scanned the list of oddities that all Irish people seem to indulge in or enjoy. —Brenda Collins

I finally cracked What Is All This?, Stephen Dixon’s mammoth collection of previously unpublished stories—and it’s terrific stuff. The book itself is also quite pleasing. Dixon still composes his stories on a typewriter (a Hermes Standard, the same brand Douglas Adams used), and Fantagraphics’ whiz art director, Jacob Covey, has mimicked the unevenness and smudges of typewritten text on the cover and section pages. It’s great design porn. —Nicole Rudick

How can you deny your love for Joan Didion, especially when she’s writing about Woody Allen? A vintage piece from The New York Review of Books. —T. L.

Larry Levis isn’t exactly a household name—then again, so few poets are—but he should be. Start with his collection The Widening Spell of the Leaves, specifically the poem, “The Spell of the Leaves,” which begins, “Her husband left her suddenly. Then it was autumn." Some lines later, this brutal description of the abandoned wife waiting in the car, out of habit, for her husband to drive her to work: “Later she couldn’t / Say whether an hour or only a few minutes / Had passed before she realized she didn’t / Have a husband.” It’s heartbreaking (and also, strangely, an excellent tool of seduction). —Miranda Popkey

Once upon a time, Kate Bernheimer asked forty contemporary authors to pen stories that riffed on the fairytale tradition. What took shape was the dizzying My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, a collection by turns wicked, lyrical, and very, very funny. Where else can you find Jim Shepard in dialogue with Italo Calvino, or Aimee Bender working from Charles Perrault? All the readers in the kingdom lived happily ever after. —Kate Waldman

What’s it like to have sex with someone with Asperger’s? —David Wallace-Wells



  1. skholiast | November 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    I studied under Levis. His poetry readings made me (and many people) weep. His books still do. (I can also vouch for the bit about seduction.)

  2. claudia | November 21, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I only realized Didion’s piece was from 79 after a while. I was a bit worried she had been holding all this bile for 30 years.

  3. Richard Peabody | November 21, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks Thessaly, for the nod.


  4. Women's Voices | November 29, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    We’re a big fan of “Lord of Misrule,” it was our favorite dark horse for the award and we’re glad to see Jaimy Gordon win!

    We have a review of it here, and we recommend you pick it up as well:

2 Pingbacks

  1. […] While you’re waiting to get your hands on Lord of Misrule, the National Book Award winner by Jaimy Gordon, Gargoyle Magazine posts an interview with Gordon from 1983. (via The Paris Review). […]

  2. […] La Force, The Paris Review, remembers a circa 1983 Gargoyle Magazine interview with Baltimore’s own Jaimy Gordon, 2010 […]

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