John Warner talks to Philip Graham about giving his characters an extra graceful breath: “I see mankind basically as a pestilence, bent on destroying each other and the Earth itself. . . And yet, sometimes we can break free of our monstrousness and be genuinely good and kind.”
Matthew Batt reviews Halina Duraj’s The Family Cannon: “What binds it is the fierce and loyal will of the one who knows she has to keep weaving these stray bits of stick and story and trash and grass back together to make us who we are—family.”
Hey, Park Rangers. Echoing the bold everlasting words of narration in Charles Baxter’s The Feast of Love, “What a Midwesterner he was, a thoroughly unhip guy with his heart in the usual place, on his sleeve, in plain sight,” I wanted to share some stories I loved from last year. There’s quite a bit of corny, unapologetic and Hallmark-y content in mid-February, and it can make any toiled romance feel heightened for unnecessary reasons. I know you’re smart enough to not place all your chips in the same stack. Of course I’m getting at sleeping around. It can’t be just […]
There are images from Kyle Minor’s stories that will stick with me to the grave: a man laying hands on a dying man’s tumor, a preacher baking biscuits at a boy’s funeral. These images sear because they get at the gruesome failures of life. The preacher bakes biscuits in a gimmicky bid for consolation. There seems no true feeling in his action, and so it falls far short of the gravity of the moment. The man with the tumor thinks the narrator of “Seven Stories about Sebastian of Koulev-Ville” is the healer come to pray over him. The narrator has […]
“The stories I love most are the ones that feel novelistic in scope, where you can feel the writer pouring absolutely everything [they have] into the story, until there’s nothing left in them and they have to try to imagine an entirely new world.”
This week’s feature is Todd Dills’ new collection, Triumph of the Ape, which was published earlier this year. Dills is the editor of THE2NDHAND, which was founded in 2000 in Chicago. He’s also the author of a novel, Sons of Rapture (Featherproof Books, 2006), and the editor of two anthologies of stories from THE2NDHAND. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Susannah Felts, also a published novelist and short story writer, and his daughter, Thalia. In his recent FWR interview with Nick Ostdick, the two sit down for a discussion on place in fiction, using Kickstarter to fund a print-run […]
Stephen King’s 1978 Night Shift takes advantage of the “safe” scare, but the story collection’s real artistry is in accessing his reader’s willingness to endure “safe” fear and turning it on the reader himself.