Redux: Jack Kerouac, Shelly Oria, Erica Ehrenberg



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.  

This week, we bring you our 1968 interview with Jack KerouacShelly Oria’s story “My Wife, in Converse,” and Erica Ehrenberg’s poem “Pause at the Edge of the Country.” You can also listen to all three in the second episode of our new podcast! Bring them on the road, in the air, or in the quiet car while you travel home for Thanksgiving this week.

Jack Kerouac, The Art of Fiction No. 41
Issue no. 43 (Summer 1968)

The original Buddha wouldn’t even walk on young grass so that he wouldn’t destroy it. He was born in Gorakhpur, the son of the consul of the invading Persian hordes. And he was called Sage of the Warriors, and he had seventeen thousand broads dancing for him all night, holding out flowers, saying, “You want to smell it, my lord?” But by the time he was thirty-one years old he got sick and tired … his father was protecting him from what was going on outside the town. And so he went out on a horse, against his father’s orders and he saw a woman dying—a man being burnt on a ghat. And he said, “What is all this death and decay?” The servant said,” That is the way things go on. Your father was hiding you from the way things go on.”

“My Wife, in Converse,” by Shelly Oria
Issue no. 209 (Summer 2014)

My wife and I took a cooking class recently. My wife and I take ­classes. It is a passion of my wife’s, taking classes. My wife is good at most things one could take classes in, which, when you think about it—and I’ve thought about it—means my wife ­excels in all things. And I believe that is in fact true. I believe my wife excels in all things. I am not blinded by love when I say this—we have been together eight years. They say after seven, whatever blindness you had is gone.

“Pause at the Edge of the Country,” by Erica Ehrenberg
Issue no. 216 (Spring 2016)

He gets back in the car, resting a plastic tray of nachos on his jeans. I smell the salt, the corn, the nacho cheese, its under-smell of plastic, the way his hair smells when he hasn’t washed it in a few days, gasoline.


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