Suspend Your Disbelief

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Interviews |

The American Dilemma: An Interview with Tyler McMahon

Tyler McMahon’s sweltering train-hop of a third novel, Dream of Another America (Gival Press), is set along the treacherous human-smuggling route from Central America to the United States and is the story of Jacinto, an unpapered economic refugee from El Salvador. In El Salvador, Jacinto and his wife are happy to farm their small parcel of land, but when their son comes down with a severe respiratory illness whose treatment is financially…

Interviews |

Writing to Please Myself: An Interview with Kim Magowan

I met Kim Magowan in late 2014 after we both entered the Sixfold fiction contest. If you don’t know it, it’s a contest in which the winners are selected by the writers who have entered in their work. Stories are submitted anonymously, and voting takes place over three rounds, each writer randomly assigned six stories per round. Kim was assigned my story during one of those rounds. She was one of the few readers who left me detailed feedback,…

Shop Talk |

recommended reading: two short stories

I teach in Connecticut on Wednesdays, so it’s the perfect excuse to shirk blogging duties and link to two of the best stories I’ve read this year: 1. “Nine” by Aryn Kyle, from the Atlantic‘s 2008 Fiction Issue. If it strikes your fancy, read Kyle’s debut novel, The God of Animals, now available in paperback and reviewed here on FWR. 2. “Face” by Alice Munro, from the September 8 New Yorker. What a…

Reviews |

Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy

Benjamin Percy’s fourth book and second novel, Red Moon (Grand Central), takes everything enjoyable about Percy’s fiction and cranks up the dials. It’s bigger, bolder, harrier, and hungrier than The Wilding (Graywolf, 2010), spreading globally where the first novel kept to Oregon; enlisting an entire cast—from president to farmer to terrorist to research scientist—where the first centered on three main characters; and setting loose a whole…

Shop Talk |

shout-out: Preeta Samarasan on the lists!

Preeta Samarasan‘s Evening is the Whole Day is getting some well-deserved list love. For the Guardian‘s best books of 2008, Ann Tyler names the novel as one of her top three (along with two other books reviewed on FWR, Miriam Towes’s The Flying Troutmans and Richard Price’s Lush Life), and Ali Smith also chooses it (along with Toni Morrision’s A Mercy and the reprint of Stefan Zweig’s Beware of Pity) for the…

Reviews |

Asta in the Wings, by Jan Elizabeth Watson

Adults often glorify childhood, even while forgetting how knowing children can be. Jan Elizabeth Watson’s debut novel, Asta in the Wings (Tin House, 2009), captures the peculiar insightfulness of childhood through her fearless seven-year-old narrator, Asta. To say that the book is pitch perfect doesn’t begin to capture the gorgeous ways Watson reveals the predicament of Asta and her nine-year-old brother, Orion: their magical, theatrical…

Interviews |

Taking Care of the Reader: An Interview with Margot Livesey

I first met Margot Livesey—Scottish born, but a long time Bostonian—in 2008 at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, where I assisted with her fiction workshop. Having read her fine 2001 novel Eva Moves the Furniture (and, in preparation for the workshop, 1996’s Criminals and 2008’s The House on Fortune Street, I knew I would encounter a mind unlike my own. My characters find themselves in times of chaos and hurlyburly, while Livesey’s are more…

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