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Posts Tagged ‘James Salter’

What We’re Loving: Marionettes, Ducks, and Connell

October 25, 2013 | by

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I was about to describe Barbara Comyns’s hyper-vivid little novel Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead (1954) as Ivy Compton-Burnett on acid. Then I googled Comyns. Top result: “Barbara Comyns Is Not Anyone on Acid.” Thank you, Emily Gould. But why do so many readers reach for the same cliché? Who Was Changed is trippy from sentence one: “The ducks swam through the drawing-room windows. The weight of the water had forced the windows open; so the ducks swam in. Round the room they sailed quacking their approval; then they sailed out again to explore the wonderful new world that had come in the night.” The real trippiness of the novel—about an English village struck by a mysterious epidemic—lies not just in its eye-rubbingly bright details, but also in its moral sensibility. Flood, fire, madness descend on Comyns’s characters without any of the usual narratorial handwringing, occasionally accompanied by ducks. Comyns is so matter-of-fact as to be surreal, and irresistible. —Lorin Stein

Until recently, I had never read Evan S. Connell; quite the faux pas when you consider that Mrs. Bridge originated as a short story in the Fall 1955 issue of The Paris Review. In this, his first novel, Connell paints a brilliantly handsome and moving portrait of a woman by the name of India Bridge and her unspectacular Kansas City family. We follow the quotidian concerns of a woman plagued by upper-middle-class luxury, and while her obsession with all things bourgeois lends humor to the novel, Connell refuses to pass any sort of judgment on his protagonist. And yet we feel the muted despair of a family divided by perpetual boredom, isolation, and the complete inability to connect. We ache for a mother’s attempt (and failure) to mother, a wife’s desperation to be loved, a woman’s unending struggle with herself. Connell’s prose is decisively, and artfully, quiet; yet the silence he weaves into the novel’s 117 chapters brims with the same fervor and frustration buried in his characters. —Caitlin Youngquist Read More »

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Watch The Paris Review on Charlie Rose, Here!

August 20, 2013 | by

Now we’re making it really easy for you! For those readers who were unable to catch James Salter, Mona Simpson, Lorin Stein, and John Jeremiah Sullivan discussing The Paris Review’s sixtieth anniversary on Charlie Rose, are you ever in luck! You can now watch the full segment below (sans introductory interview with Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman). Yes, we’ve given this a lot of ink, but what can we say—we’re proud!

If you have issues with the video, click here to watch.

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In Case You Missed It…

August 19, 2013 | by

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If you weren’t able to catch James Salter, Mona Simpson, Lorin Stein, and John Jeremiah Sullivan talking The Paris Review’s sixtieth on Friday night’s Charlie Rose (or, like some of us, were forced to watch it in closed caption), you’re in luck! Tonight, the show airs again on Bloomberg TV at 8 P.M. and 10 P.M. EST.

 

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Tonight! The Paris Review on Charlie Rose

August 16, 2013 | by

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Tune in tonight to Charlie Rose for a conversation with editor Lorin Stein, James Salter, Mona Simpson, and John Jeremiah Sullivan on the sixtieth anniversary of The Paris Review. Trust us, it’s an engaging interview—even Kevin Spacey agrees.

The show will air at 11 P.M. on PBS, but check your local affiliate to confirm the time.

 

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Your Borders Gift Card Is Useless, and Other News

May 24, 2013 | by

"Useless, useless." - John Wilkes Booth

“Useless, useless.” —John Wilkes Booth

  • Listen to James Salter read (Booker-winning!) Lydia Davis’s “Break It Down.”
  • We sort of would have assumed this, but apparently it took a Manhattan federal judge to declare that unredeemed Borders gift cards are, in fact, worthless. (Sorry, everyone whose bar and bat mitzvahs I attended!)
  • Oh dear. Poet David R. Morgan has confessed to multiple instances of plagiarism. (He says he’s “deeply sorry.”)
  • Meet Rosamunde Pilcher. In her native England, “the eighty-eight-year-old is regarded as a successful, if stylistically limited, writer of romantic novel. In Germany, she is nothing short of a national heroine—Julian Fellowes, Colin Dexter, and Ealing Studios rolled into one. More than one hundred of her love stories, set in Cornwall and Devon, have been turned into television films, all shot on location—but with German actors—and invariably aired on Sunday afternoons.”
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    When Baseball Isn’t Baseball

    May 15, 2013 | by

    In Ivan Weiss’s trailer for Bull City Summer, guest photographer Alec Soth says, “What I’m doing here isn’t about the game of baseball.” Soth isn’t the first project participant to say this (or words to that effect). The notion has been with us virtually since Bull City Summer was conceived, more than two years ago. It has since grown into an informal slogan.

    It’s curious to say that a project about a baseball team, set in and around a baseball park, isn’t about baseball. But in fact, the diamond has long refracted our attention outward from itself: Walt Whitman compared baseball to America’s laws and Constitution; more recently, Michael Chabon wrote, in Summerland, “A baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day.”

    The “summer day” part is a little too pastoral for me (the vast majority of games are at night, anyway), but Chabon is right that a ballgame, with its pauses and blank spaces built around what Whitman called the “snap” and “fling” of the game’s energy and action, encourages you to take in everything around it—everything that “isn’t about the game of baseball,” as Soth says. Chabon and Soth are getting at why we call baseball the national pastime instead of the national sport. Read More »

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