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Posts Tagged ‘Paris Review’

The Quotable David Salle

September 19, 2016 | by

Dana Schutz, Frank as a Proboscis Monkey, cropped, 2002, 36" x 32".

Dana Schutz, Frank as a Proboscis Monkey (detail), 2002, 36" x 32".

Recently, thanks to heavy wait times at the twenty-four-hour Genius Bar on Fifth Avenue, I found myself killing an evening at the Plaza with nothing to read but the galleys of a book of art criticism, How to See, by the painter David Salle. It turned out to be perfect company—witty, chatty, intimate, sharp. And slightly exotic (at least for this reader): you rarely see novelists write so knowingly, on a serious first-name basis, about each other’s work. Soon I was dog-earing and drawing lines in the margins next to favorite passages, as for example:

On recent paintings by Alex Katz:

Some of the color has the elegance and unexpectedness of Italian fashion design: teal blue with brown, black with blue and cream. You want to look at, wear, and eat them all at the same time.

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Beauty, Truth, and The Girls: An Interview with Emma Cline

July 19, 2016 | by

Emma Cline.

Emma Cline’s debut novel, The Girls, may be loosely based on the Manson murders, but it isn’t really about Manson at all—it’s about the women around him, those attracted to life at the edge of the world. Though the book circles around the blunt facts of Manson’s crimes, it sidesteps the particulars, reducing him to a pitiful, failed musician named Russell whose only talent is tending to his wilting garden of devotees. Instead of dwelling on him, the novel follows fourteen-year-old Evie Boyd, who’s increasingly enthralled by one of the older girls in Russell’s circle.

Cline, a winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize, writes with the kind of beauty the painter Agnes Martin once described as “an awareness in the mind.” “Marion,” Cline’s story in the Review’s Summer 2013 issue, opens with the line, “Cars the color of melons and tangerines sizzled in cul-de-sac driveways.” The Girls is set against a dreamy, at times abstracted, California landscape. Her descriptions shimmer on the page: trying to mimic a girl she admires, Evie stands straighter, “holding my head like an egg in a cup”; a teenage boy’s room reeks of masturbation, “a damp rupture in the air”; girls are “swampy with nostalgia.”

Though she’s encouraged by the warm response The Girls has received, Cline eschews the public eye. “I’m used to the isolated part of writing, the part where you’re doing a lot of work alone, in solitude,” she told me. When we spoke on the phone last month, she’d just landed in LA for a reading. I asked her how long she’d be out West. “Just another week or so,” she said, “and then I’m at large.” Read More »

Update: Writers, Named

December 9, 2015 | by

“Paris Review,” by Anthony Russo.

“Paris Review,” by Anthony Russo. (Click to enlarge.)

On Monday we announced a contest based on a recent archival discovery: a decades-old illustration, by Anthony Russo, of a Paris Review office packed with writers. To our surprise, after more than three hundred entries, we have only one winner: David DeJong, a copywriter from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The writers are as follows:

1. Joan Didion
2. Milan Kundera
3. Samuel Beckett
4. Tama Janowitz
5. Truman Capote
6. Saul Bellow
7. Kurt Vonnegut
8. William Styron
9. Norman Mailer
10. William S. Burroughs
11. John Updike

Congratulations, David! And thanks to all those who participated.

Can You Name These Writers?

December 7, 2015 | by

Update: The winning responses were announced on December 9.

“Paris Review,” by Anthony Russo.

“Paris Review,” by Anthony Russo. (Click to enlarge.)

Here at The Paris Review’s offices, we’re often uncovering oddities from our archive: our “Twenty Year Index,” content from our very first Web site, festschrifts from bygone anniversaries. Last week, though, we discovered something entirely different: an illustration by Anthony Russo depicting a Paris Review office chock-full of literary heavyweights. And we’ve decided to have some fun with it.

If you can correctly identify all eleven writers in Mr. Russo’s illustration, we’ll give you a free one-year subscription to The Paris Review—along with a copy of our new anthology, The Unprofessionals. Just send an e-mail with the names and their accompanying numbers to; the first three correct lists will win.

Good luck—and have fun!

Stephen Hiltner is the senior editor of The Paris Review. You can find him online on Instagram and Twitter.

Peter Matthiessen, 1927–2014

April 5, 2014 | by

Linda Gavin/Courtesy of Riverhead Books

Linda Gavin/Courtesy of Riverhead Books

We have received word that Peter Matthiessen, a founding editor of The Paris Review, died today after a long battle with leukemia. A Zen priest, novelist, environmentalist, and two-time winner of the National Book Award, Peter was a heroic figure to generations of readers, including our own. He lived a life of adventure but was, even in public, the first to admit his vulnerabilities and flaws. As a writer, he held himself to the highest standards—his own—even in the face of incomprehension or disregard. As the most senior member of our board, and one of the last living founders of the Review, he was unfailing in his encouragement and love of this magazine; we have lost a progenitor, a guiding spirit, and a cherished friend.


You are one of the few writers ever nominated for the National Book Award in both fiction and nonfiction. Define yourself.


I am a writer. A fiction writer who also writes nonfiction on behalf of social and environmental causes or journals about expeditions to wild places. I have written more books of nonfiction because my fiction is an exploratory process—not laborious, merely long and slow and getting slower. In reverse order, Far Tortuga took eight years, At Play in the Fields of the Lord perhaps four, and the early novels no doubt longer than they deserved. Anyway, I have been a fiction writer from the start. For many years I wrote nothing but fiction. My first published story appeared in The Atlantic the year I graduated from college and won the Atlantic firsts prize that year; and on the wings of a second story sale to the same magazine, I acquired a noted literary agent, Bernice Baumgarten, wife of James Gould Cozzens, the author of a best-selling blockbuster called By Love Possessed, whose considerable repute went to the grave with him.


And when did you start your first novel?


Almost at once. It was situated on an island off the New England coast. I had scarcely begun when I realized that what I had here at the very least was the Great American Novel. I sent off the first 150 pages to Bernice and hung around the post office for the next two weeks. At last an answer came. It read as follows: “Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this 150 years ago, only he wrote it better, Yours, Bernice.” On a later occasion, when as a courtesy I sent her the commission on a short story sold in England, she responded unforgettably: “Dear Peter, I’m awfully glad you were able to get rid of this story in Europe, as I don’t think we’d have had much luck with it here. Yours, Bernice.” Both these communications, quoted in their entirety, are burned into my brain forever—doubtless a salutary experience for a brash young writer. I never heard an encouraging word until the day Bernice retired, when she called me in and barked like a Zen master, “I’ve been tough on you because you’re very, very good.” I wanted to sink down and embrace her knees. Read Matthiessen’s Art of Fiction interview and his story “A Replacement,” and listen to him on the art of travel writing.  


Time Is Running Out

January 30, 2014 | by


Photo: Chris Willis, via Wikimedia Commons

Today is many things: Vanessa Redgrave’s birthday; the 365th anniversary of Charles I’s beheading; a Thursday. But more than any of these, it’s the penultimate day of our subscription deal with McSweeney’s. You must, in the parlance of infomercials and World War II propaganda, ACT NOW, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

To refresh your memory: this January only, you can get a year of The Paris Review and McSweeney’s for just $75*—a twenty percent savings over individual subscriptions. It’s what known among businessmen as synergy, and among laypeople as a totally white-hot deal.

Yes, our two magazines have always appealed to different readers. Our sensibilities, like our headquarters, are a continent apart. But for 2014 we say, vive la différence. You’ll have the most cosmopolitan bookshelf, nightstand, or bathroom on the block, and a full supply of the interviews, fiction, essays, poetry, and humor that keep us reading each other and make us want to spread the love!

Subscribe now or risk infinite regret!

*US only.