fiction

Literary Flashback: Reading ‘Super Sad True Love Story’

Kimberly Tolleson

Proving that a dystopia can still be a fun read, Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story is set in the not-too-distant future of New York City, providing many parallels that hit disturbingly close to home. Our hero Lenny Abramov, a nerdy and overzealous 39-year-old, is a relic of the recent past: He loves reading bound books; his body, nose and hairline are not perfect; but most of all, he is striving for some authentic human connection in a world of self-absorption. 

Two Months Later, the Pulitzer Prize Rebuff Still Speaks Volumes

Veronica Giannotta

For the first time in 35 years and the 11th time in history, this year’s Pulitzer Prize deliberately overlooked all three fiction nominees.  Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, and Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams were speculated to be stranger choices than usual. This motley trio admittedly inspired a  few raised eyebrows, but none were prepared for the news that would precipitate from the Pulitzer Board’s final conference -- that ,in fact, none had been worthy of the prestigious literary prize.

Peter Behrens’ New Book Traces a Family Saga That Spans Generations and Countries

Lee Polevoi

Peter Behrens’ first novel, The Law of Dreams, received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and he has also published Night Driving, a collection of short stories. His prose is clear and lyrical, and he demonstrates a deep empathy for all of his characters. If the intensity of the early chapters of The O'Briens gives way to a less focused, more rambling account of the lives of the O’Brien clan, this may be as much a function of this type of novel as his conception and execution. But throughout, Behrens’ affinity for landscape and family shine through. 

New Fiction: Death Threat

Lee Polevoi

The Bentley was parked and idling at the curb.  As always, my driver Emil Vaka stood by the open rear door,  his own uniform of ancient Habsburg design garlanded with regal epaulets.  I already pictured myself settling in the backseat as we sped downtown; but as I tugged my camel-hair coat against the morning chill, a woman crossed my path, walking a black-and-tan spaniel on a jewel-encrusted leash.  She was tall, dark-haired, no older than forty, wearing a fur stole and the  air of Old World wealth.  As we exchanged a cordial smile, new purpose suddenly entered my life. 

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