fiction

Read an Excerpt From Lucia Berlin’s ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’

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“Perhaps, with the present collection” Lydia Davis writes in the introduction to A Manual for Cleaning Women, “Lucia Berlin will begin to gain the attention she deserves.” The attention Berlin deserves is the attention afforded to our best writers of short fiction — there is no doubt she should be engraved on the the metaphorical Rushmore of short story writers, alongside Yates or Carver or whoever else you’d like to put there.
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10 Must-Read Books for August

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Pitched between the beach reads of June and July and the high literary controversies of autumn, the month of August is often little more than a break in the literary calendar. But this year publishers have perked up a bit, electing to release a combination of rediscovered classics and high-quality debut …Read More

In Search of Lost Memory: Jesse Ball’s Elegiac ‘A Cure for Suicide’

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What if memory behaves like an immune system? Let’s say, for the sake of a thought experiment, that our memory acts as a time-mind barrier, swelling around our psychic wounds, expanding or contracting in reaction to external stimuli. It might be possible, on that basis, to tear down our memories and rebuild them in much the same way that modern medicine razes the immune system in order to make way for alien stem cells.
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Read as Yourself: Ben Marcus on New American Fiction and the Art of the Anthology

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Later this month, Vintage Contemporaries will publish New American Stories, a richly variegated anthology of American short stories edited by Ben Marcus. The collection, which Marcus put together more as a playlist or mixtape than a “museum piece,” is a stirring arrangement that presents a strong case for the American short story as a vital, living thing. And, like unmediated life, it is uncategorizable.

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10 Must-Read Books for July

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Bookended by highly entertaining reality novels that rely on healthy doses of unreality — Linda Rosenkrantz’s groundbreaking Talk and Hilary Liftin’s Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper — July is the best time to lose yourself in the in-between.
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