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When she debuted, with her first novel, Raven’s Croak (!), she was a sixty-two-year-old retired knitting teacher from a rural backwater.
We’re back today from the Tin House Writer’s Workshop and feeling a bit like kids fresh off the bus from summer camp: smarter, braver, and already wistful for the quesadillas in the Reed cafeteria the time we spent immersed in this thing we most love with some of our favorite people who love it, too. […]
Alice Elliott Dark offers a masterclass on Jane Bowles’s short story “A Stick of Green Candy” in this Lost & Found from Tin House #12. It is hard to write well about children. Most often, we portray them as prototypes of ourselves; we trace who we are back to that smaller version of us, the […]
Hugh Ryan introduces us to the zombie’s first cameo in American literary consciousness–and to an author whose life story rivals that of the undead for drama–in this Lost & Found on adventurer, occultist, and discerning cannibal W. B. Seabrook’s The Magic Island. I’m a sucker for a good monster-origin story. What’s Cujo with the rabies, […]
Tonaya Thomspon proffers a vision of Sylvia Browne, said psychic’s 500-year-old “Aztec/Inca” spirit guide Francine, and her best ghost hunting advice (“NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS BEFORE OR DURING TRANCE.”) in this Lost & Found from Tin House #47: The Mysterious. I discovered Sylvia Browne in the early nineties, after dropping out of my first try […]
Baseball is no place for freethinkers, which is why Bill Lee never fit in. Unafraid to voice his opinions, he called George Steinbrenner “a convicted fellow” and said the Oakland A’s were “emotionally mediocre.” He told reporters he sprinkled marijuana on his buckwheat pancakes.
Francine Prose has been gracing the pages of Tin House for as long as we’ve had had pages to grace. This Lost & Found on Rebecca West’s A Train of Powder appeared in our inaugural issue. Catch Prose’s latest dispatch for us, a Lost & Found on Annie Ernaux,in our new summer issue. If Rebecca […]
These things would be easy to parody, but, distinctively, The Big House is a brave celebration of family. I want to say brave, because, speaking as one myself, it’s hard not to sound clichéd and satirical about that particular brand of American, the Northeast WASP. Though as a breed they’ve had their day in the literary sun, at the hands of such masters as John Cheever and Robert Lowell (who famously coined the term “Mayflower screwballs” in one of his poems), their struggles often appear as those of loafers in loafers, a repressed gang of lock-jawed yacht-clubbers with drinking problems and names like Buffy.
The Bellow that emerges here is a surprisingly mellow guy, almost chastened with age, still disinterested to the point of subtle racism and misogyny in the world outside his class, but capacious within the folds of twentieth-century Jewish experience.
Carolyn See writes about California in a way that gets to the heart of a native: what it’s like to drive down Wilshire Boulevard on a foggy midnight. The preternaturally cheerful Brentwood matrons who live to play tennis and have the current PC bumper sticker on their Mercedes station wagon.
Chris Beha introduces the work of Mavis Gallant, a writer whose short stories are reliably sublime, in today’s Lost & Found from the vault. Read more of Chris’s own most excellent prose (if we do say so ourselves) in his debut novel, What Happened to Sophie Wilder, out from Tin House Books this June. […]
Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 5th. In case you, like me, are in the process of considering how to get the most bang for your (unspent) buck on this holiest of days, today’s Lost & Found brings a reading recommendation from super-cartoonist Karl Kesel. Here’s Kesel on Jack Kirby’s Challengers of the […]
Two hundred years before Dante spun his poetry of the inferno, a monk named Marcus wrote his own vision of an absurd and ghoulish hell–one perhaps accessible only through the absurd and ghoulish medium of Middle English. Here’s Leslie Jamison on “The Vision of Tundale,” weird syllables, lost infernos, and hell in translation. People enjoy […]
Knut Hamsun was both Nobel laureate and Nazi collaborator; the protagonist of his novel, Hunger, is both suffering artist par excellence and repellent misanthrope. Don Waters takes on these incongruities, and the distance between the real and romanticized writing life, in this Lost & Found from our vault. In my early twenties, I was introduced to the Norwegian […]
It might be a stretch to call Travels with Charley a lost book, but it’s certainly one that speaks to the tradition of getting lost in the search for America. Here’s Tom Grimes on Steinbeck’s troubled vision of America as seen from the open road. Does any writer ever truly capture an era or become […]
Where’s the joy in a modern balloon compared to one fashioned from the bladder of the family pig? Here’s our own Brenda Shaughnessy on the “sublime humility” of life in Laura Ingall Wilder’s Little House books. I’ll start by saying I will never apologize for loving Laura Ingalls Wilder’s vivid recollections of life in pioneer […]
It is “narrative adventure” as much as cultural anthropology, a book in which extraordinary historic, topographic, and linguistic details mix up with tales of moonshine, mean-minded pigs, laurel hunts, bear escapades.
I already had a Hollywood notion of Isadora: that would be Vanessa Redgrave in all her mid-1960s Blowup beauty, cavorting around Europe and Russia in what looked like a sheer tablecloth. But I had grown up in the sixties, so Isadora seemed less like an iconoclast—you know, an Independent Woman who lived for Art, believed in free love, shunned marriage, had children anyway, was politically committed—and more like one of my babysitters.
Guinea Pig Zero published firsthand reports on the things potential guinea pigs really wanted to know about the business of human research: how much the studies paid, how bad the food was, whether a research unit employed phlebotomists who had trouble hitting a vein.
Tin House’s new book Hot Art examinesthe shady underworld of art theft; today’s Lost & Found from David Lehman raises the question of how to steal art that’s naught but air. Here’s Lehman on Charles Willefort’s The Burnt Orange Heresy. You can read The Burnt Orange Heresy as either a murder mystery or a parable […]
In the early 1970s, the polymorphously great Swiss writer Max Frisch, renowned in this country, though not renowned enough, for novels such as I’m Not Stiller, Man in the Holocene and Homo Faber—flew to New York to embark upon one of those humiliating treks through the border region of celebrity known as the book tour.
But many years later, when I enrolled in a PhD program in Russian literature, I decided to remain focused and serious, immersing myself in Tolstoy and Gogol and Babel, getting better acquainted with Russian writers I might have already studied had I never emigrated from Moscow at the age of seven. Imagine my guilty pleasure, then, at discovering, among the Dostoyevskys and Bulgakovs, an author who spearheaded the modern Russian best seller, the Judith Krantz of fin de siècle Russia—Anastasya Verbitskaya.
The guy kept writing, and he kept not dying. When Lee Meriwether was born in 1862, Jefferson Davis dandled him on his knee; he remembered fleeing with his family from Sherman’s invading troops. By the time he died in 1966—just a year after writing his final memoir—the Beatles were recording Revolver. Meriwether’s grandmother spoke of meeting George Washington, and yet today there are still people who remember Lee as an old man.
I had discovered an American Methuselah: quite possibly the only writer whose memory spans the entire history of the republic.
Anna Keesey brings us to The Mountain Lion, Jean Stafford’s brutal tale of childhood’s end on a Colorado ranch, in today’s Lost & Found from our vault. Since this piece first ran in 2002, the novel has been reissued by New York Review Books. At the end of her life Jean Stafford looked like a […]
Between its recent return to print and its 2010 Coen brothers adaptation, True Grit has been feeling the love as of late. This wasn’t always the case. This prescient Lost & Found from 2004 sees Cassandra Cleghorn appreciating Portis’s American epicbefore it was cool, before it was even cooler. (You can’t get much cooler than […]