Posts Tagged ‘Issue 194’
May 4, 2011 | by Lorin Stein
There had been different boys living at Lytle’s since not long after he lost his wife, maybe before—in any case it was a recognized if unofficial institution when I entered the college at seventeen. In former days these were mainly students whose writing showed promise, as judged by a certain well-loved, prematurely white-haired literature professor, himself a former protégé and all but a son during Lytle’s long widowerhood. As years passed and Lytle declined, the arrangement came to be more about making sure someone was there all the time, someone to drive him and chop wood for him and hear him if he were to break a hip.
There were enough of us who saw it as a privilege, especially among the English majors. We were students at the University of the South, and Lytle was the South, the last Agrarian, the last of the famous “Twelve Southerners” behind I’ll Take My Stand, a comrade to the Fugitive Poets, a friend since youth of Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren; a mentor to Flannery O’Connor and James Dickey and Harry Crews and, as the editor of The Sewanee Review in the sixties, one of the first to publish Cormac McCarthy’s fiction. Bear in mind that by the mid-nineties, when I knew him, the so-called Southern Renascence in letters had mostly dwindled to a tired professional regionalism. That Lytle hung on somehow, in however reduced a condition, represented a flaw in time, to be exploited.
April 5, 2011 | by Lorin Stein
The Paris Review has been nominated for two National Magazine Awards: general excellence in a literary magazine, for our summer, fall, and winter issues and best essay or criticism for “Mister Lytle: An Essay,” by our Southern editor, John Jeremiah Sullivan. Awards will be presented on May 9. In the meantime, we have made the entirety of Sullivan’s essay available online:
When I was twenty years old, I became a kind of apprentice to a man named Andrew Lytle, whom pretty much no one apart from his negligibly less ancient sister, Polly, had addressed except as Mister Lytle in at least a decade. She called him Brother. Or Brutha—I don’t suppose either of them had ever voiced a terminal r. His two grown daughters did call him Daddy. Certainly I never felt even the most obscure impulse to call him Andrew, or “old man,” or any other familiarism, though he frequently gave me to know it would be all right if I were to call him mon vieux. He, for his part, called me boy, and beloved, and once, in a letter, “Breath of My Nostrils.” He was about to turn ninety-two when I moved into his basement, and he had not yet quite reached ninety-three when they buried him the next winter, in a coffin I had helped to make—a cedar coffin, because it would smell good, he said. I wasn’t that helpful. I sat up a couple of nights in a freezing, starkly lit workshop rubbing beeswax into the boards. The other, older men—we were four altogether—absorbedly sawed and planed. They chiseled dovetail joints. My experience in woodworking hadn’t gone past feeding planks through a band saw for shop class, and there’d be no time to redo anything I might botch, so I followed instructions and with rags cut from an undershirt worked coats of wax into the cedar until its ashen whorls glowed purple, as if with remembered life.
Congratulations and thanks to all!
September 27, 2010 | by Lorin Stein
The Paris Review Whistle-stop Tour of 2010 (aka The Choo-Choo Revue) got off to an intimate start Saturday at Politics and Prose.
It was a shimmering semitropical September afternoon. The Washington sun was shining. So were the faces of the staff: Jonathan Franzen had come through the night before, drawing a crowd of a thousand and selling about as many books. Luckily, P & P had the foresight to reserve a nearby auditorium.
No auditorium was needed in our case—but the cream of the Beverly Court was in attendance. Noted artist Gay Gladding was full of praise for Tauba Auerbach, whose work she has admired since Tauba’s San Francisco days. Double-threat jazz clarinetist and tennis instructor Bob Greene was seen to trade phone numbers with TPR Daily tennis correspondent Lousia Thomas, in town to research her book Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family—A Test of Will and Faith. Dorothy Jackson, the doyenne of Washington event planners, sparked a spirited discussion of the literary magazine today. Actually, it was more of a monologue, but our old neighbors were indulgent. As were my parents.
Many thanks to Barbara Meade, co-owner of the store, and Mike Giarratano and the rest of their staff for their gracious welcome—and for excellent recommendations to read on the train.
September 23, 2010 | by Giancarlo DiTrapano
From his first collection of stories, Venus Drive, to his most recent novel, The Ask, Sam Lipsyte has consistently penned the best comedic literature of the past decade. In the fall issue, he has returned to the short form and chiseled us out what might be his best story to date. It’s your classic tale about a good man with a bad plan. A lot like life, it’s a tale of things almost working out. Last year I interviewed Lipsyte about The Ask. This month he let me do it again, this time about “The Worm in Philly.”
The hero of your new story wants to write a book about Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Why Hagler?
As the narrator says, why not Hagler? Truth is I’ve always been a Hagler fan. There were things I left out of the story, like his subsequent career as an action-movie star in Italy, or the rumor that he wouldn't shake hands with white fighters because he refused to touch “white flesh.” I used to follow a fighter named Mustafa Hamsho, who lost to Hagler a few times. I like both of those names a lot. Hagler and Hamsho. Hagler’s baldness was maybe an homage to Jack Johnson, but it was ominous in a fiercely contemporary way. He was kind of a throwback, but there was also the possibility he was from the future.
I love the “white flesh” thing. I do that too. I want to talk about drugs though. Without answering the first part of this question, why do I love reading about drugs and why do you love writing about drugs? Why are drugs so hard to resist, whether they’re on the page or in the pocket?
I’m glad you do that, Gian. That's good.
I’m not sure why you love reading about drugs. Maybe at a certain point the reading high is better than actually doing them? That could be preposterous though. I guess I’ve written about drugs a good deal because for a time, in my younger days, certain hard substances were the major elements in my life. My movements and decisions revolved around them. I like to pretend it was all some meaningless blur, but it was a very intense and focused time. I had a daily purpose (to get more drugs) that heightened the experience of being alive (a heightening then nullified by the drugs). I felt very alert during the mission phase of the day. Make no mistake, it was a horrible time, but I’ve always been fascinated by that robotic intensity. Also, it’s a way to give your character something to do, and we all know you have to keep those fuckers in motion, or readers might find out they are just constructions in a fiction! I try to make sure the drug-users in my stories aren’t acting high. Most of them tend to do drugs to get straight anyway. They are in that awful place. So their interactions might seem slightly off, but mostly these could easily be people not doing dangerous drugs. It’s just that occasionally they die from their addictions or else make really bad decisions that lead to more misery. That’s where the comedy kicks in. Drugs are hard to resist for some people because they work really well. And then don't. But you find that out later. Read More »
September 21, 2010 | by Lorin Stein
April Ayers Lawson’s short story “Virgin” appears in our new issue. It is Lawson’s first appearance in a magazine with national circulation. Last week she was kind enough to answer a few questions from her home in Greenville, South Carolina.
In “Virgin” you describe sexual frustration and desire very convincingly—and very specifically—from a man’s point of view. How did you do it?
Close observation. Male frustration seems to me more focused, more linear, than female frustration. This interests me a lot. Also, I enjoy asking men about what they think it means to be a man. I like to hear about the women in their lives—how they view their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives. I like to try to understand what it means to be “manly,” what it means for a man to think he's failed to be manly. The more I understand men, the more I understand women.
Also, when a story is about women—I consider the story to be mostly about the women—it makes more sense to me to feel them from the perspective of a man.
Did you ever feel out of your depth?
The perspective came naturally. If it didn't I'd have aborted. When I write I’m doing it as an act of discovery. Also to get high. What I’m writing should feel at least as real to me as what’s physically around me. It should rise out of and also sustain a heightened sense of emotional reality. Otherwise, no point, no pleasure.
The stories of yours that I have read are all set in the South among Evangelical Christians. Do you write with a Southern Christian reader in mind? Read More »
September 13, 2010 | by Lorin Stein
Two days to go before we officially launch the fall issue—and with it, the redesigned Paris Review. We are told that copies have already arrived at a bookstore near us. Maybe also at one near you.
For the curious, the contents include:
interviews with Michel Houellebecq and Norman Rush
fiction by Lydia Davis, Sam Lipsyte, and newcomer April Ayers Lawson
essays by J. D. Daniels and John Jeremiah Sullivan
poems by Carol Muske-Dukes, Dorothea Lasky, Frederick Seidel, John Tranter, Mark Ford, Daniel Bosch, Charles Harper Webb, and the late, great Giacomo Leopardi
artworks by Tauba Auerbach and Colter Jacobsen
We'll be telling you more about these people, and showing you some of their work, over the next few weeks. But ... it's never too soon to subscribe!