Karl Taro Greenfeld’s Triburbia was one of our favorite novels of this summer — but is novel even the most precise word? In truth, the book is collection of linked short stories revolving around a neighborhood, a master patchwork that has both the feel of a solid, complete novel and the flexibility of a collection. We asked Greenfeld to tell us about some of his other favorite collections of linked stories that either feel like novels or are billed as such, he obliged.
Greenfeld tells us: “Before I wrote Triburbia, my novel-in-stories set in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, I had always read and enjoyed linked collections of stories. At their best, they reminded me of the Disney short film “Nature’s Half Acre,” in which a tiny meadow is observed by time-lapse camera and micro-photography over the course of four seasons and we get to see all these changes, particularly among the plants and insects, that the naked eye would never normally detect. (When a mouse or a rabbit shows up in that film, it’s a big fucking deal.) That was my goal when I was writing Triburbia — I wanted to illuminate this one little ecosystem — and I often looked to and thought about these collections of linked stories as I wrote Triburbia.” Click through to check out his picks, and if he didn’t select your favorite, be sure to add to his list in the comments.
The Wanderers by Richard Price
This 1974 collection of stories by the author of Clockers is both a multi-perspective rendering of the Bronx, circa 1963, but also a great coming of age book. Price deftly dips in and out of the lives of a group of gang members, the eponymous Wanderers, with each story related to those that came before but also standing alone. Price was just 24 when he wrote this, and masterfully conveys the confusion, anxieties, and violence of boys becoming men.