Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘Lee Thomas’

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Stories We Love: "A Voice in the Night," by Steven Millhauser

About nine months after I heard Steven Millhauser’s incendiary reading at The Story Prize, his story “A Voice in the Night” arrived in the December 10, 2012 New Yorker. It starts with the title conceit: God’s voice calling the boy Samuel, who thinks the old temple priest Eli must be shouting his name in the darkness. I settled into a straight retelling of the biblical story. Wait. Suddenly we’re in Stratford, Connecticut in 1950 with a boy lying awake one hot summer night thinking about the Samuel story, which he heard in Sunday school that afternoon. He’s listening, too. I […]


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Fiction Writers Review Guilty Pleasure Reads Confessionals

Airports. Vacation spots. Subway commutes. Sunday. For whatever reason, even into the most well-read literary life a little twaddle reading does fall. At the risk of surrendering any and all professional credibility, the Fiction Writers Review editorial staff kindly confessed to their favorite guilty pleasure reads. And they don’t plan on giving them up for their New Year’s resolution. Brandon (Assistant Editor): Slog comments. Someone from NPR once said, “online comments are the digital equivalent of the loudest drunk in the bar.” The Slog, Seattle’s cleverly vulgar news and culture blog, gets pretty surly around closing time (especially when race […]


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YA We Love: Der Struwwelpeter

This summer some dear family friends gave us a few antique German children’s books for our son. They included a huge and heavy tome of Wilhelm Busch’s work for children – author of the savagely funny and come-uppance-heavy Max and Mortiz (look it up, it’s worth it) – and a curious little volume of (what do I call them?) morality tales for children called Der Struwwelpeter, which roughly translates from the German as “Shaggy Peter.” I’d seen a copy on my husband’s grandmother’s shelf, and even the cover illustration–fingernails like tentacles and ominous scissors–creeped me out a bit. Heinrich Hoffman […]


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Spotlight on … YA

By October 1 all those start-of-the-school-year jitters have worn off (especially if, like me, you’ve no current connection to an academic calendar). In honor of the younger generation of readers, for the month of October FWR will highlight YA lit. Books for young people differ slightly from children’s literature, bridging the gap where Squirrel Nutkin leaves off and The Brothers Karamazov picks up. But, as every serious reader knows, good literature knows no age limit. A Wrinkle in Time still feels as magical as when my father read it aloud when I was eight. Along with our regular content, between […]


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Stories We Love: "Nephilim"

Most stories we read, hear, even tell — we forget. A scant few haunt us across years. The best ones never leave. I still remember the first time I read One Story issue #141 on the F train. Early November in New York, when wet, bare branches foreshadow winter. It begins: Freda weighed eighteen pounds when she was born. Her feet were each six inches long. At ten, she was taller than her father. Five feet eleven and one-half inches standing in her socks. I can’t keep you in shoes, her mother would say, and they went to Woolworth’s for […]


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The Story Prize goes to …

Steven Millhauser! Yes, I know that news broke last week. But Anne and I attended the event on behalf of FWR – quite the literary crowd, Hannah Tinti further down our row, spotted Paul Vidich in the aisle. Here are some highlights: Don Delillo described going back to stories he’d written in the late 1970s and early 80s and not changing anything. Oh, wait, he took out all the semicolons, colons, and commas that magazine editors had introduced. He said it best: “I was a free man.” Cormac McCarthy, eat your heart out. Steven Millhauser, white floss of hair aglow […]




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