Post Road Magazine #10

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I Love Dick by Chris Kraus — Rick Moody

Back when I was studying semiotics in the early eighties, one of my heroes was Sylvere Lotringer, the editor of Semiotext(e). The Polysexuality issue of Semiotext(e), in particular, was much passed around by my acquaintances at Brown University, so much so that I think my copy was actually stolen from one of my roommates. About this time, by coincidence, my girlfriend was subletting Sylvere’s apartment on Front Street, downtown, and so one of the big intellectual thrills of my short life was walking around Sylvere’s library, checking out his copies of Celine and Barthes and John Hawkes. The aforementioned girlfriend’s further adventures, during this period of her glamorous address, included doing coke with a friend of Sylvere’s who happened by at the time. I recall raging with jealousy about the whole thing, simply because I wished I’d been there too. She didn’t even like cocaine! . . .

The Dangerous Husband by Jane Shapiro — Michael Griffith

E.L. Doctorow writes somewhere of the kind of marriage that should, for the safety of bystanders, be stashed in one of those mesh steel cages bomb squads use and detonated under lock and key. Jane Shapiro’s The Dangerous Husband (1999) tells the story of such a relationship—a bond made up half of heartsong and half of headlock. This novel depicts domesticity as a death struggle...more

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert — Marcelle Clements

Some say it is the first modern novel—both because of its “debased” subject matter and because it is a masterful exploration of the human psyche. But whose psyche? . . .

Mystery Ride by Robert Boswell — Don Lee

In his seminal study of the short story, The Lonely Voice, Frank O’Connor makes a quiet yet startling assertion. As a form, he says, short stories may allow for marginal, unsympathetic characters, but novels cannot—they must contain at least one major point of view with which readers can identify. This seems to me a rather specious, reductive, and limiting pronouncement...more

After Long Silence by Helen Fremont — Richard Hoffmann

I no longer remember the first time I read After Long Silence. I have been pressing it on my friends, colleagues, and students ever since it first appeared. When people complain that memoir is a narcissist’s genre, that its truths are not only specious but small, I tell them to read it. . . .

The Fiction of J.F. Powers — X. J. Kennedy

When James Farl Powers died at the age of eighty-two, in 1999, he left only two novels and three collections of stories. For such a long career, that might seem a small accomplishment, but it is enough to win him lasting glory wherever good writing is still cherished. For Powers is unique. . . .

Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show — Steve Yarbrough

Larry McMurtry has supposedly expressed the opinion that the film made from his early novel The Last Picture Show is a lot better than the book, and many people seem to agree...more

Willard and His Bowling Trophies, A Perverse Mystery by Richard Brautigan — Brad Watson

I remember being in high school and seeing, one day, these words scrawled in chalk on a brick pillar outside the art department: “Trout Fishing in America.” Soon I found out the cryptic words had been written by a fan of that book by Richard Brautigan. . . .

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut — Mark Lindquist

“This is the only story of mine whose moral I know,” Kurt Vonnegut writes in the introduction of Mother Night, his third novel. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” . . .

Olt by Kenneth Gangemi — Vendela Vida

1. List of Things I’ve Been Given and Whether or Not I’ve Said Thank You...more

Trash Sex Magic Jennifer Stevenson — Audrey Niffenegger

Trash Sex Magic is one of those books that aren’t easy to categorize or even describe, but here goes: it’s a magic realist extravaganza about Raedawn Somershoe and her mother Gelia, who live with several other families in trailers along the Fox River, west of Chicago, and across the road from a gigantic tree/sex/nature god who happens to be their lover. . . .

The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake Breece D’J Pancake and Blinking with Fists by Billy Corgan — J. T. Leroy

My favorite all timewriter is Breece D’J Pancake. He is from West Virginia, like I am. I talk to him a lot. He is the dude to study for craft. His book, The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake, is my new Bible . . . .

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter — Dan Pope

James Salter’s novel, A Sport and A Pastime, may be the best bookabout sex ever written, but that’s not why I read it over and over again. (Really.) The book may have taught me a few things on sexual technique, I admit, but a lot more about writing—about how to pick your words as carefully as Bing cherries, about how to use first-person narration without conventional restrictions, about how to free yourself from the tedium of writing the tedious parts of the story, that is, about knowing what to leave out. Salter leaves out everything except the essential.

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