Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The New Yorker's Recent Fiction

I’ve been reading The New Yorker for ages, and have a love-hate relationship toward the fiction they publish. I’m excited when I love the story, and disappointed when it doesn’t do much for me or feels like nothing more than a novel excerpt by a famous writer.

But here are three recent stories that I especially liked:

--“The Tiger’s Wife” by Tea Obreht: about a story of a tiger in the narrator’s grandfather’s village (not online; this actually is an excerpt of a forthcoming novel, though it read almost like a story)

--“Idols” by Tim Gautreaux: about a man who inherits a grand old family mansion and tries to restore it

--Ziggurat by Stephen O’Connor: about, well, a Minotaur trapped in a labyrinth! (If you only read one of these, read this one; it was remarkable, though not tidily explained. And if you weren’t drawn in when you saw it, I recommend giving it another try.)

I read the Gautreaux story and thought it was compelling and well-done. Then, I checked in with the Perpetual Folly blog and learned that the characters in this story are actually characters from two different Flannery O’Connor stories: Julian is from “Everything that Rises Must Converge” and the handyman is from “Parker’s Back.” Now, I’m even more intrigued—and grateful for an excuse to be sent back to my Collected Stories of Flannery O’Connor.

Clifford Garstang, the man behind the curtain of Perpetual Folly, reads and comments on virtually every short story in The New Yorker, so it’s a nice place to check if you’re like me, always interested in comparing your own opinions and observations with someone else’s.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.