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Issue #14, Winter 2002
Halle Berry he ain't, but John Ashcroft, the United States attorney general, is our ideal cover boy for this issue of Tin House. Jim Shepard, in an artful blend of fact and fiction, imagines Ashcroft's inner life; Australian poet Les Murray conjures haunting images in "At the Widening of War"; novelist Jeffrey Eugenides contributes a dark and humorous essay from Berlin about discovering a Nazi bunker under his office; in Montana, Charles D'Ambrosio talks about the transcendence and hell of self-imposed exile; and from Russia comes Sergey Gandlevsky' poem, "To My Mother," in which he writes, "Everything that happened to us will happen again." These pieces make the case that our best writers illuminate the human condition in ways that can never be captured by the blaze of the CNN lights. Also in this issue is Tin House favorite Jonathan Lethem, with a new story, "The Vision," as well as an excerpt from Scott Spencer's highly anticipated novel, A Ship Made of Paper, and an interview with the author of the number-one bestselling novel Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier. So, please, settle in to someplace safe and take it all in. Peace.
Jim Shepard, Scott Spencer, Jonathan Lethem, David Benioff, Lewis Robinson
JOHN ASHCROFT: MORE IMPORTANT THINGS THAN ME • I promoted the de-funding of the NEA. The average guy who wants to go down and see Garth Brooks, he doesn't get a federal subsidy.
IN A PERFECT WORLD, AN EXCERPT FROM THE FORTHCOMING NOVEL A SHIP MADE OF PAPER • This is the pinnacle, the greatest happiness he has ever known, right there, asking the dog if she is Jesus, and Iris telling the dog not to answer.
THE VISION • He believed himself or anyway claimed to be the Vision: the brooding, superpowered android from Marvel Comics' Avengers.
ZOANTHROPY • From the animal perspective, I think, nothing that makes you bleed is a good thing.
OFFICER FRIENDLY • I suppose I didn't want to look like a criminal, but I was annoyed that my jean jacket, black wool hat, and steel-toed boots didn't speak danger.
Les Murray, Pattiann Rogers, Sergey Gandlevsky, SARAH MANGUSO, Sue Kwock Kim, Ellen Doré Watson, Mark Ford, Robin Robertson
THE LOST CREATION OF THE EARTH
STUDY FROM RIGHT ANGLES
TO MY MOTHER, Translated by Philip Metres
I DO NOT KNOW TO CALL IT BITTERNESS OR JOY
EARLY TO BED, EARLY TO RISE
TWENTY TWENTY VISION
Mary Otis, Michael Leong, Jennifer Srygley
PILGRIM GIRL • It's Rick. The reason she is pretending to be a traveling saleswoman. Again, this occurs to her, too late.
THE PRIVILEGE OF HERMES
LETTER TO HUGO FROM BROOKLYN
FOR THE SMALL BOY WITHTHE BIG SCARF IN XI'AN
THE BUNKER • Exploring a Nazi bomb shelter underneath Berlin's American Academy
FOR KEEPS: THE CHRISTIAN C. SANDERSON MUSEUM Collecting almost everything he touched, Christian Sanderson was the archaeologist and curator of his own life.
Charles D'Ambrosio, Tracy Chevalier
A CONVERSATION WITH HEATHER LARIMER
A CONVERSATION WITH ELLEN FAGG
Lost and Found:
John Marr, Jon Raymond, Sara Roahen, Karl Iagnemma, S. Shankar
ON STEWART HOLBROOK'S HOLY OLD MACKINAW
ON ABBY FISHER'S WHAT MRS. FISHER KNOWS ABOUT OLD SOUTHERN COOKING
ON HENRY ROWE SCHOOLCRAFT
COOKING AND STEALING • The writer remembers a talented shoplifter and great cook who taught her that eating bad food is just plain wrong.
The Last Word:
FAQ • Digital help for the most commonly asked dating questions.