Book of the Week: The Law of Strings, by Steven Gillis
By Jeremiah Chamberlin
Our new feature is Steven Gillis’s most recent story collection, The Law of Strings (Atticus Books, 2012). Gillis is the author of four previous novels, Consequence of Skating (2010), Temporary People (2008), The Weight of Nothing (2005), and Walter Falls (2004), as well as an earlier story collection, Giraffes (2007). He is also the founder of 826michigan and the publisher of Dzanc Books—one of the great contemporary forces in indie publishing.
In the introduction to Tyler McMahon’s recent interview with Gillis, he describes the collection as “strange, surprising, and ever original.”
As McMahon notes, the collection “features magicians, tightrope walkers, and levitators, living fantastic lives but suffering ordinary problems.” In response to a question about his stories often being described as surreal, Gillis replies:
As for what I try to achieve with my stories, you’re right–I don’t really like the term “surreal,” as it suggests something false and artificial. I think my writing—and the true masters, like Saunders and Bender and Barthelme and Hannah and many others, including Cheever who is my first love—look for ways to present the truth. I firmly believe nothing requires more truth than fiction. The presentation, setting, and style, is simply a vehicle for getting to that truth. I practiced law many years ago and nothing requires more fiction than lawyer-ing. But I digress.
We’re giving away a copy of The Law of Strings in two weeks to three of our Twitter followers. To be eligible for this giveaway (and all future ones), simply click over to Twitter and “follow” us (@fictionwriters).
To all of you who are already fans, thank you!
- Read the rest of McMahon’s interview with Steven Gillis.
- Read a novel excerpt from The Consequence of Skating, published in Guernica.