There was one last buzz, then Greene pulled himself reluctantly up off the sofa. As I watched him cross the living room, the part of my mind still working in slow motion pictured the door opening, the gunmen entering and shooting Greene (professionals, with silencers), then noticing me and shooting me too, with some surprise but with no regret. I thought of the headlines the next day: STRANGE WOMAN MURDERED WITH FAMOUS AUTHOR IN RIVIERA APARTMENT.
Although there are hints of trouble in my grandmother’s book, I had never seen them. I was glad to own it, but I was overwhelmed by the tedium of her attempt to accent the rosy endurance of this immigrant family she had married into. My grandmother’s truth was the one that forgot or erased pain and remembered only joy.
Hemingway’s fame rests on his tragic romances of love and death; his evocative stories crafted in spare prose; his vivid war reporting and travel books. He was not a comic writer, and when he tried to be funny he could be heavy-handed, as in his parody The Torrents of Spring, or embarrassingly arch, as in the tedious conversations with the Old Lady in the otherwise fascinating Death in the Afternoon. Yet his most underrated quality was his lively sense of humor.
Susan Choi stirs the waters in the 2016 Hopwood Lecture, Pearl Abraham surprises with unexpected connections between political and private wrongdoing, Natalie Bakopoulos sorts through the tangled relationship at the heart of Elena Ferrante’s four Neapolitan novels.
Fiction: Mark Brazaitis, Cynthia Dockrell, Beth Kissileff, Barbara Krasner, Matthew Lansburgh, Monica McFawn, Elizabeth Poliner.
Poetry: Natalia Romero (translated by Seth Michelson), Felicia Zamora.
I used to be too respectful to disagree with Tolstoy, but since I got into my sixties my faculty of respect has atrophied. Besides, at some point in the last forty years I began to question Tolstoy’s respect for his wife. Anybody can make a mistake in marriage, of course. But I have an impression that no matter who he married Tolstoy would have respected her only in certain respects, though he expected her to respect him in all respects. In this respect, I disapprove of Tolstoy; which makes it easier to disagree with him in the first place, and in the second place, to say so.
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