Gimme Shelter Sold Out

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

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.

Scott Spencer

IN A PERFECT WORLD, AN EXCERPT FROM THE FORTHCOMING NOVEL A SHIP MADE OF PAPERThis 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.

Jonathan Lethem

THE VISION • He believed himself or anyway claimed to be the Vision: the brooding, superpowered android from Marvel Comics' Avengers.

David Benioff

ZOANTHROPY • From the animal perspective, I think, nothing that makes you bleed is a good thing.

Lewis Robinson

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

AT THE WIDENING OF A WAR

Pattiann Rogers

THE LOST CREATION OF THE EARTH
STUDY FROM RIGHT ANGLES

Sergey Gandlevsky

TO MY MOTHER, Translated by Philip Metres

SARAH MANGUSO

I DO NOT KNOW TO CALL IT BITTERNESS OR JOY

Sue Kwock Kim

ON SPARROWS

Ellen Doré Watson

GHAZAL FOR SHAHID

Mark Ford

EARLY TO BED, EARLY TO RISE
TWENTY TWENTY VISION
PENUMBRA

Robin Robertson

NIGHT DRIVING
THE PANTHER

Mary Otis

FICTION
PILGRIM GIRL • It's Rick. The reason she is pretending to be a traveling saleswoman. Again, this occurs to her, too late.

Michael Leong

Poetry
THE PRIVILEGE OF HERMES

Jennifer Srygley

Poetry
LETTER TO HUGO FROM BROOKLYN
FOR THE SMALL BOY WITHTHE BIG SCARF IN XI'AN

Jeffrey Eugenides

THE BUNKER • Exploring a Nazi bomb shelter underneath Berlin's American Academy

Albert Mobilio

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

A CONVERSATION WITH HEATHER LARIMER

Tracy Chevalier

A CONVERSATION WITH ELLEN FAGG

John Marr

ON HARRY STEPHEN KEELER

Jon Raymond

ON STEWART HOLBROOK'S HOLY OLD MACKINAW

Sara Roahen

ON ABBY FISHER'S WHAT MRS. FISHER KNOWS ABOUT OLD SOUTHERN COOKING

Karl Iagnemma

ON HENRY ROWE SCHOOLCRAFT

S. Shankar

ON R.K. NARAYAN

Amy Bloom

COOKING AND STEALING • The writer remembers a talented shoplifter and great cook who taught her that eating bad food is just plain wrong.

Elizabeth Benedict

FAQ • Digital help for the most commonly asked dating questions.