Suspend Your Disbelief

Erika Dreifus

Contributing Editor

Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories (Last Light Studio), which is an ALA Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding Jewish literature. Quiet Americans was also named a Notable Book (The Jewish Journal) and a Top Small-Press Book (Shelf Unbound). Erika is a contributing editor for Fiction Writers Review and an advisory board member for J Journal: New Writing on Justice, and she wrote the section on “Choosing a Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing” for the second edition of Tom Kealey’s Creative Writing MFA Handbook (Continuum, 2008). Erika is also the editor/publisher of The Practicing Writer, a free (and popular) e-newsletter featuring advice, opportunities, and resources on the craft and business of writing for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction.


Articles

Shop Talk |

First Looks, May 2012: The Last Hundred Days and The Innocents

Hello again, FWR friends. Welcome to the latest installment of our “First Looks” series, which highlights soon-to-be released books that have piqued my interest as a reader-who-writes. We publish “First Looks” here on the FWR blog around the 15th of each month, and as always, I’d love to hear your comments and your recommendations of forthcoming titles. Please drop me a line anytime: erika(at)fictionwritersreview(dot)com, and thanks in advance. This month’s First Looks picks take us in a decidedly international direction. Let’s begin with The Last Hundred Days, Patrick McGuinness’s debut novel, which was longlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize […]


Shop Talk |

Stories We Love: "To Build a Fire"

Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” (1908) is one of those stories—paralleled by certain films—that I always return to with an odd yearning. Each time, despite myself, I hope that the story (or film) will somehow end differently. That Connie won’t leave with Arnold Friend. That Christopher Reeve won’t discover that penny from 1979. Or, in the case of London’s story, that “the man” won’t break through the ice—and that the fire won’t go out. Perhaps part of the story’s great appeal is how very different it is from my own lived experience and writerly tendencies. My version of the […]


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First Looks, April 2012: Goliath and HHhH

Hello again, FWR friends. Welcome to the third installment of our new blog series,  “First Looks,” which highlights soon-to-be released books that have piqued my interest as a reader-who-writes. We publish “First Looks” here on the FWR blog around the 15th of each month, and as always, I’d love to hear your comments and your recommendations of forthcoming titles. Please drop me a line anytime: erika(at)fictionwritersreview(dot)com, and thanks in advance. Susan Woodring and I are graduates of the same low-residency MFA program. Although we overlapped for a couple of semesters, we were never assigned to the same workshop. Still, I’ve […]


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First Looks, March 2012: The Pretty Girl and Conversations with David Foster Wallace

Hello again, FWR friends. Welcome to the second installment of our new blog series,  “First Looks,” which highlights soon-to-be released books that have piqued my interest as a reader-who-writes. We publish “First Looks” here on the FWR blog around the 15th of each month, and as always, I’d love to hear your comments and your recommendations of forthcoming titles. Please drop me a line anytime: erika(at)fictionwritersreview(dot)com, and thanks in advance. Here are just two of the many intriguing books scheduled to be released before we meet again one month from now: A few weeks ago, I received an email from […]


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First Looks: Birds of a Lesser Paradise and The Edge of Maybe

Hello, FWR friends. I’m delighted to announce a new blog series: “First Looks.” This series, which I’ll be writing each month, will introduce you to soon-to-be released novels and short-story collections that have piqued my interest as a reader-who-writes. Consider it a public “to be read” announcement of sorts, a way for me to point out a new title (or two) every month and explain what about it has caught my eye. For the most part, we’ll be concentrating on books that fall within FWR’s chief interest: fiction by emerging authors. We’ll publish “First Looks” posts here on the FWR blog […]


Reviews |

A Meaning for Wife, by Mark Yakich

“There are people who talk about themselves in the first person, people who talk about themselves in the third person, and people who don’t talk about themselves at all,” says a character in A Meaning for Wife. Yet poet Mark Yakich’s debut novel is narrated–quite successfully–in the controversial second-person.


Shop Talk |

Under the Influence… of Sands Hall

Immersed in a 9-to-5, year-round office job since early 2007, I haven’t led a fiction workshop for some time. But if I should inhabit that particular teaching role again, I’d want to remind myself how the job is best done. Ideally, I’d do that by sitting in on one of Sands Hall’s workshops. I met Sands when I enrolled in her “Tools of the Writer’s Craft: Novel” workshop at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in 1997. I subsequently returned to Iowa to take other workshops of hers. We’ve stayed in touch, and I’m proud to say that we’re friends. In […]


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Stories We Love: "Body Count"

I adore all of The Pale of Settlement (2007), a collection of linked stories by Margot Singer that won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and the Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction. I’ve reread the entire book. But the story that I’ve returned to most often—many times—is “Body Count.” Initially published in Prairie Schooner (and therefore available online to those with JSTOR access), “Body Count” presents us with a protagonist who appears across the collection: Susan Stern. In 2002, Susan, an American-born Jew with close family in Israel, is living in New […]


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Five Ways to Celebrate Short Stories

Here at FWR, we’re certainly doing our collective best to honor the art and craft of the short story this month. But there are lots of ways that each fiction writer can celebrate short stories individually. Here are five possibilities: Participate in #StorySunday: Reminded each Sunday by @TaniaHershman, short-story fans are encouraged to share a link via Twitter to someone else’s short story using the hashtag #StorySunday. Quick. Painless. Free. Click here to see the latest #StorySunday tweets. Listen to Selected Shorts: As its brand-new website explains, Selected Shorts “is a weekly public radio show broadcast on over 130 stations […]




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