Who Reads New Yorker Fiction?
Not me. Or at least not as often as I probably should. But luckily there are bloggers to do that for us. (Pretty soon bloggers, twitterers and Facebook friends will do all our thinking for us.)
In revisiting all of the stories, one major over-arching theme emerged for me, the conflict between stories that center on what I call "suburban malaise" (born out of "The Swimmer" and "What We Talk about When We Talk about Love" among many others) and those that don't. The former are what I think of as the base condition for New Yorker (and indeed all of contemporary American and UK short fiction) and the latter are the departures from that. The departure can be one of character, theme, setting, or style. The distinction is, of course, imprecise, and there are many riveting, impeccable examples of the "suburban malaise" story on offer from the New Yorker. The departures, meanwhile, can serve as a breath of fresh air and when done well, expand the boundaries of short fiction for the reader.
And at Perpetual Folly, Clifford Garstang also read every story, but also had a contest to choose the best one. Congratulations, Joshua Ferris, on winning the virtual prize, beating out such New Yorker elders as John Updike and Alice Munro.
By Rachel Hartigan Shea |
January 12, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Rachel Hartigan Shea
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