June 7, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
Our friend Toby Barlow has written a novel, set in Paris in the 1950s, in which an expat literary magazine gets embroiled in a CIA plot. Naturally the whole thing is fiction … or is it? Here Barlow describes the genesis of Babayaga and his valiant attempts to erect a statue to our founding editor, George Plimpton.
May 28, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
The proofs of our Summer issue just arrived at Twenty-Seventh Street from the printer. This afternoon is our last chance to catch any mistakes. You always find a few typos—and we have more names to spell-check than usual, because this issue contains more stories, poems, and interviews than any in recent memory.
Some of these writers are regular contributors, including Lydia Davis—with her first publication since she won the 2013 Man Booker International Prize for fiction—and David Gates, whose new story is a favorite of his and ours. Others are writers we’ve been waiting to publish for a while, namely Ben Lerner, whose first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, is one of the best debuts we’ve seen in the past few years, and Kristin Dombek, whose essays in n+1 electrified us. The newly translated stories by Robert Walser are from his groundbreaking 1904 collection, Fritz Kocher’s Essays. This book (which won the admiration of Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin) made me feel for the first time that I understood what all the fuss is about.
Still others, including Emma Cline, Gillian Linden, and the Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli—translated by the likes of Jorie Graham and Mark Strand—are new to us and will probably be new to you. We look forward to saying, You read them here first.
Plus, three interviews.
Two are devoted to the art of literary biography. Michael Holroyd’s lives of Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw, among others, revolutionized the study of Bloomsbury and Edwardian literary history.
I am a great believer in private life, which is quite unfashionable now—to be a celebrity is the thing, or you are nothing. But I believe in private life for the living, and I think that when one is dead one should be a little bit bolder, so that the rest of us may have some record of how things actually were. Otherwise we will be left with well-meant lies, which add to the difficulties of life and lead to real misunderstanding.
Hermione Lee’s biographies of Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, and Edith Wharton are just as influential.
What is it like to write a death scene?
It depends how they died. Some cynical biographer said to me, Make sure it’s a good death. Make sure you’re not picking someone who just declined.
Finally, we have an Art of Fiction interview with the Nobel laureate Imre Kertész. It is, according to Kertész, the last interview he will ever give. Luisa Zielinski’s probing, sensitive questions explore the reasons that Kertész—ten years after he survived the Holocaust—decided he had to write.
Look, I don’t want to deny that I was a prisoner at Auschwitz and that I now have a Nobel Prize. What should I make of that? And what should I make of the fact that I survived, and continue to survive? At least I feel that I experienced something extraordinary, because not only did I live through those horrors, but I also managed to describe them, in a way that is bearable, acceptable, and nonetheless part of [a] radical tradition … Perhaps I’m being impertinent, but I feel that my work has a rare quality—I tried to depict the human face of this history, I wanted to write a book that people would actually want to read.
May 22, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
Hats off to our beloved contributor Lydia Davis, who was just awarded the Man Booker International Prize, Great Britain’s most prestigious prize for fiction. In the judges’ citation, Sir Christopher Ricks asked how best to describe Davis’s works: “Just how to categorise them? They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even apophthegms, prayers or simply observations.”
Click here to read some of Davis’s most recent fiction in The Paris Review—or click here to receive our next issue, with five of her newest stories (or miniatures, or anecdotes, or essays, or whatever you’d like to call them).
May 3, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
Over the years The Paris Review has been nominated several times for a National Magazine Award, and even won a couple, but we never won the prize for General Excellence—until last night. The other finalists in our category included The New Republic and Mother Jones. We are very proud to be in their company—and can’t imagine how the poor judges reached their decision. We will take it as a vote of confidence in the poetry, fiction, and essays of today, and in the power of literature to hold its own, even in an election year.
We send our warmest thanks and congratulations to the writers and artists whose work is recognized by this high honor. You deserve it.
April 29, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
It’s the end of an era here at The Paris Review: after eight years in TriBeCa, today we’re packing up and heading north to our new Twenty-Seventh Street digs. While it’s bittersweet, we look forward to making new memories in Chelsea. And, yes, the birds are migrating with us.
As of this afternoon, you can find us at 544 West 27th Street, New York, New York 10001. That’s past the High Line, across the street from the strip club, and next door to the Cuban restaurant. If you fall into the river, you’ve gone too far.
April 17, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
Readers of The Paris Review will remember a portfolio and a novel excerpt by Rachel Kushner in our Winter issue. Now that book—The Flamethrowers—is out and earning raves (“It unfolds on a bigger, brighter screen than nearly any recent American novel I can remember,” says today’s New York Times). Click here to read our excerpt and here to see (and read about) the artworks that inspired the novel.