Suspend Your Disbelief

Author Archive

Essays |

Hobbling Up The Magic Mountain

I just read Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. The whole thing. Starting on page one and ending on page 706. The events in the book span seven years, and reading it seemed to take almost as long. When I embarked on this project, I was recovering from orthopedic surgery … Why, then, would I want to read a lengthy book packed with intellectual digressions set in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps prior to the start of World War II? Hadn’t I been through enough? How about something light, or at least short? A Carol Goodman murder mystery, or something by Nick Hornby? As it turned out, The Magic Mountain was a choice so perfect I’m thinking a copy should be handed out with every pre-admission packet given to surgical patients…

Essays |

AWP: Hope Takes Flight in the Basement of the Hilton

At first, I didn’t care too much about the economic troubles of Wall Streeters, or people living off their investments, or people with things called “401ks.” Let them give up their limos and learn how to take the bus; let them eat at the table next to me at Ali Baba’s Kebab House. But then the publishing world followed. Has the prospect of getting a literary novel published plunged from very unlikely to totally unlikely to absolutely-forget-about-it-impossible with each drop of the Dow Jones average? Or is there hope?