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Posts Tagged ‘Katherine Dunn’

Confidences

October 12, 2011 | by

Photograph by Aftab Uzzaman.

If you are a writer with any presence on the Internet, even a very obscure one, you often get e-mails from strangers. Sometimes these strangers are quite eccentric, like the guy who once sent me a short story about men who were enslaved for breeding purposes and fed dog food. So I didn’t give much thought to a cryptic e-mail I got in the summer of 2009 from a person named Innocente Fontana.

The e-mail contained a few terse words of praise for my first novel. I wrote back, “Innocente Fontana can’t possibly be your real name … can it?” He didn’t respond; three months passed. During that time, I was living off of unemployment benefits and savings from a job I’d recently lost, and I was feeling exhausted. To make a living as a writer, as I was trying to do, seemed impossible.

In the fall, presumably because he’d read a blog post I wrote about traveling in Morocco, Fontana e-mailed again. This e-mail was longer and mentioned that, decades back, he’d spent time in Tangier. He said he’d known Paul Bowles during that time, that Bowles had become his literary mentor. Skeptical, I probed for more detail. Who was he, really? Read More »

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“Most Brilliant, Most Highbrow”: New York Magazine

June 22, 2010 | by

Boy, were we thrilled to discover that the Katherine Dunn story from our summer issue has appeared in the top right corner of New York Magazine's Approval Matrix!

You can buy the issue at your local independent bookstore or on our site. And you can also read a Q&A on the Daily with Dunn and Caitlin Roper, the issue's editor.

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Katherine Dunn

June 14, 2010 | by

It took seventeen years to get from my second novel, Truck, to my third, Geek Love.

Katherine Dunn’s novel, Geek Love, is the most singular, evocative, twisted, hilarious book I have ever read. Every sentence contains a surprise. There is nothing else like it. I’ve given a copy of Geek Love as a gift at least once a year for the last decade. A while ago, I wrote Katherine Dunn a fan letter. In reaction to my heaps of heartfelt praise, she said simply, “I’m so grateful that you found it funny. Not everyone gets the jokes.”

Our correspondence ranged from marriage to Mike Tyson’s pigeons, but there was one steady thread—my repeated nagging for a short story or piece of fiction to read and consider for the magazine. I learned from Katherine that I was not her only fan among Paris Review editors. “Shortly before George Plimpton died, he phoned me out of the blue—he was a legendary figure for my generation so this blew my pulse rate to ecstatic shreds—asking to include one of my pieces in a volume of boxing stories he was planning to edit. It would have been a great honor.” A new Katherine Dunn story in The Paris Review, the issue’s printed, and my pulse has not yet returned to normal.

Since Geek Love was published in 1989, you've published many articles, essays, even poetry, but not much fiction. Does fiction take longer to simmer?

Yes, I’ve only published a few short stories in anthologies. Some projects do take longer to gel. But nonfiction is done on a deadline so somebody snatches it away and prints it.

Twenty years is a long time for something to gel, what has happened?

I don’t want to be glib here, but twenty years worth of life and work happened. Some might say I’m right on schedule by my lights. It took seventeen years to get from my second novel, Truck, to my third, Geek Love. And Cut Man is still in progress but it’s a longer book. Fortunately there’s no shortage of wonderful novelists to keep us all engaged. And, lucky for me, the Magi at Alfred A. Knopf are possessed of patience.

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Summer Issue 193

June 10, 2010 | by

You might be familiar with the oeuvre of Caitlin Roper as The Paris Review’s resident tweeter. In between tweets, Caitlin is managing editor of the Review. For the summer issue Caitlin has surpassed herself—valiantly stepping in as interim editor between Philip Gourevitch and me. Issue 193 is her editorial handiwork. —Lorin Stein

It’s been thrilling to put together an issue, and to do it with my sharp, talented colleagues, Christopher Cox and David Wallace-Wells.

It’s strange now to see this issue, which we’ve been working on for a few months, finally sprout legs and amble out into the world to meet its readers. There’s a story, “Rhonda Discovers Art,” by Katherine Dunn, that I can’t wait for you to read. I think passionate fans of Geek Love will not be disappointed; Dunn is still as twisted and as genius as she was in 1989.

The summer issue also includes a stunning portfolio by Jeff Antebi of bonfires shot at night in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He says, “the fires seem almost like sentient creatures coming alive of their own free will, and staying awake as long as they care to.”

Did you know that R. Crumb saw God in a dream in 2000? It’s true. He talks to Ted Widmer about his vision, his work habits, his influences—from early TV to Norman Rockwell, LSD to Donald Duck—in the first Art of Comics interview in our fifty-seven-year history. I won’t rattle off the entire TOC, but I hope you enjoy the issue. It’s full of surprises.

 

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