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We drove through Oakland, a desultory meander along the estuary in the warehouse district where the Port boom cranes line up in a string of white horses and the big freighters hug the shore waiting to be relieved of their cargo so they can turn around and get more on the other side of the […]
“I can get you a squirrel next week,” my accountant, Julian, said.
When I was six, I developed a spiritual disorder. I started believing that someday, I would find a message in a bottle. Over the years, the condition mutated from the gnostic persuasion of a 6-year-old into a belief system more commonly found in those who have seen Jesus in their toast. The conviction broke out […]
From our Hope/Dread issue, a look at the autobiography of a career hobo who lied, cheated, and stole his way across America. For one year, I was the only employee of a small, quiet shop in Portland, Oregon, that specialized in rare and academic books. The job had many perks: a world of esoteric information […]
We were thrilled with yesterday’s announcement that Lacy M. Johnson’s The Other Side was selected as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. To celebrate the news, we thought it fitting to rerun an excerpt from her memoir that first appeared in our Memory issue. Check back tomorrow for an interview with Lacy. […]
In France, Hervé Guibert was widely recognized as a transgressive, unflinching writer who interwove fact and fiction in his various novels published through the 1980s. As part of Paris’s cultural milieu, he quickly became friends—and even lovers—with the philosopher Michel Foucault. When Foucault died in 1984, purportedly to cancer, Guibert swerved from his violent phantasmagorias […]
And what do I do with this spicy, dangerous, jelly?
Cosmology is the practice of discovering and articulating origins: scientifically speaking, the origins of the universe. But human experiences have their own murky geneses to wade through, and they deserve (or at least require) an equally diligent attention. Marilynne Robinson’s trilogy of Iowa novels – including Gilead, Home, and now Lila – offers such singular […]
I step closer and see a ball of fluffy nest material in the air filter compartment, a mix of laundry lint and leaves. Half a dozen baby mice—hairless, blind, helpless on their backs—are squirming on the hot plastic bottom of the box. Soon all the guys in the garage are peeking down into this miracle.
The rabbit was an unusual gift from my grandmother. She’s a loving woman but not sentimental, and most of the gifts she’s given me over the years have been jewelry or clothing we picked out together at Nordstrom. Though I was getting to be too old for this, I began sleeping with the rabbit every night, and eventually, her soft fur wore down and became patchy, and her body flattened, and her white face grew yellow.
Spring, 2005 I stand in the doorway of the Bibliothèque Nationale reading room, the soaring sanctum before me, above me the ceiling a grandeur of opaque glass wreathed with names of great cities: Alexandria, Athens, London, Babylon, Jerusalem, Byzantium, Peking. I’m here in search of Rainer Maria Rilke. Strapped for cash, unschooled, twenty-seven years old […]
Teddy has been sitting on the same brown sofa in the family room for over ten years, staring at Rita’s photograph across from him. There’s a faraway look in his droopy eyes, and from the way he stares at my wife’s photograph, I can tell he is trying to say something, but can’t get the […]
She pointed out sticks for me to pick up. The sticks needed to be long, but not too long; thick, but not too thick; and straight, without leaves. It was August in England, and although we’d had a fine summer, it had been raining all day and the sticks were muddy. I picked them up without complaining. My daughter didn’t speak much, even though the idea that we should recreate the US cover of my novel had been her suggestion. Still, I was happy to be spending time with her, because she is seventeen and I don’t get to do that very often any more.
I grew up indiscriminately loving all the songs that came on the radio, but it was the fact of the radio itself, the little box on the floor by my bed, that brought the music to life and made it a kind of magic for me.
Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays is out this week. To celebrate, we’re running a few of his nonfiction pieces that didn’t quite fit the book but that we adore nonetheless. This essay first appeared in the Portland broadside The Organ. I’m not an art critic, and I’m hopelessly corny—qualifications enough to say a few words […]
Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays is out this week. To celebrate, we’re running a few of his nonfiction pieces that didn’t quite fit the book but that we adore nonetheless. This essay first appeared in The New Yorker in 2007. As a kid, I rarely went to the movies. My one memory of a summer movie […]
An excerpt from Peter Turchi’s A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic. For more information about the book and its author, be sure to click over to Fiction Writers Review for an interview between Peter and Robert Boswell. My wife has a fantasy, a desire she often expresses, which I feel […]
Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays is out this week. To celebrate, we’re running a few of his nonfiction pieces that didn’t quite fit the book but that we adore nonetheless. This essay first appeared in The New York Times in 2006. I haven’t had much success with home, as a child or an adult. I’ve lived […]
All of us at Tin House were thrilled to hear the news that Ann Hood’s essay “Tomato Pie” was included in the 2014 Best Food Writing collection. First appearing in our Memory issue, the essay concludes with a wonderful recipe that most of our staff indulged in over the summer. This includes Tin House executive editor […]
When all the other girls in our class were fawning over Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter, we were in love with a crocodile hunter.
If a modern film version of Pride and Prejudice were produced today, some of the main characters should be gay, Elizabeth and Darcy should not get married at the end, and Charlotte Lucas should be played by a tabby cat. At least, those were the conclusions made by students in a college course I taught […]
Too often, when writers try to write an essay, they stumble on common pitfalls like cramming too much information into too small a space, giving too much back story, or trying to write an essay for a particular column rather than writing an emotionally true one. We all have read memoirs that take our breath […]
My brother turns to me. He says: I want to go home, but I don’t know where that is. I say to him, so do I. In time, I’ll repeat that line to him. He’ll agree, and we’ll order another round. Neither of us lives on the street. He lives in an apartment. I doubled […]
Plagued by doubt, I pick at my prose, searching for answers. If I keep scratching, the text will bleed. I stop writing. Though the novel is nearly done, a crucial element is missing and I am uncertain how to proceed.
Five years ago, a stranger with an accent asked for my number. He approached me in a dark, cavernous bar in the West Village, a place known as much for its live jazz as for its cheap beer and pool tables. I had drifted away from my friends to hear the music. The band played […]