“But orange’s pop and fizz and alarming brightness still sparks in me — a reminder of how it feels to begin. It feels like joy, like the kick of a starting gun, like a banner flapping in the breeze.”
Days after calling off her wedding, a writer travels to Texas to study the endangered whooping crane, and learns about the nature of need.
Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses, a 1985 collection of testimonials from then-Soviets who were children during the Second World War, has been translated into English and excerpted at the Paris Review. “It became connected like that in my memory, that war is when there’s no papa.”
Turning one’s lived experience into fiction can be a very fruitful exercise, leading the story far from its factual origins, but the need for readers to identify the bits of the author’s real life misses the way fiction can reveal larger truths.
“So, like the wicked stepsisters (smart) in the Grimms’ story of Cinderella (beautiful and good), I lopped toes and heels off characters to make them fit where I wanted. I jammed them into place and ignored the blood.”
Twenty-five years after Sven Birkerts published The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, which of his concerns now plague our digital world?
As one Tennessee native’s parents taught him, nobody respects a whiner, so how did his favorite country singer get away with it?
“Sometimes, I’ll read a novel written by a man in which a woman walks home alone, late at night, in America, without having a single thought about her physical safety, and it’s so implausible that I’ll put the book down.”
The first in a new series at the Paris Review, featuring “underrated and underread” female authors. This one profiles British Novelist Olivia Manning (1908-1980), known best for her novel School for Love and for her Balkan and Levant trilogies. Manning’s books featured less likable women characters, who might have been better appreciated if they were introduced now. A contemporary of Iris Murdoch and Kingsley Amis, she was jealous of their greater fame.
It took Toniann Fernandez a decade after first leaving her New Jersey home to understand the appeal of Bruce Springsteen, the state’s officially sanctioned saint, and she tracks her various exploits this past year in what eventually becomes a futile attempt to meet the Boss.