Winter Reading

Issue #30, 2006

In this issue, Jim Shepard returns with another deeply empathetic, surprising story based on a real person (Shepard has previously delved into the psyches of a disparate group of enigmatic characters such as John Entwistle, John Ashcroft, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon). In "Eros 7" he blasts into psychic space with pioneering cosmonaut Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova. We're also delighted to welcome back Ron Carlson, Tara Ison, Anthony Swofford, Anthony Doerr, Stephen Elliott, Stuart Dybek, and Charlie Smith. On a more metaphysical note, the very public European intellectual Milan Kundera, citing the works of some of his favorite authors such as Flaubert and Kafka, argues that the novel casts a sublime spell in a way no other form can.

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Stuart Dybek

THE START OF SOMETHING • Perhaps the deceased had willed only debts, for the heirs, haughty with grief, were selling off the furnishings.

Tara Ison

LIST ITEM #10: THE MOTEL ROOM • They were in the motel room, actually, when they'd had that conversation, spreading the drop cloth over the bed as if the quilted nylon spread, already a patchwork of stains, needed protection from them.

Etger Keret

HEALTHY START • At the café they always gave him a table set for two, and sat him across from an empty chair. Always. Even when the waiter specifically asked him whether he was alone.

Anthony Swofford

AN EXCERPT FROM THE NOVEL EXIT A • She put the wig and pistol in her purse and went downstairs to tell her father she was hanging out with friends in Shinjuku after attending the 8:00 p.m. movie at the base theater.

Stephanie Soileau

SO THIS IS PERMANENCE • And Sarah did not know herself well enough to be certain where she actually meant to go when she snatched her mother's keys off the kitchen counter and announced that she was taking the baby for a ride.

Jim Shepard

EROS 7 • By 12:30 p.m. Moscow Time I will have put on my orange suit and climbed into my own spacecraft, the Vostok 6, to rendezvous with a fellow cosmonaut 150 miles above earth.

Per Petterson

AN EXCERPT FROM THE NOVEL OUT STEALING HORSES • Jon came often to our door, at all hours, wanting me to go out with him...It was risky, but I never said no and never said anything to my father about what we were up to.

Ron Carlson

TUMBLED OAKS • We had already noted that another effect the dead had on the living was to give some of them work cleaning up the cemeteries.

Justin Torres

Fiction
IN THE KITCHEN • We wanted to feel the pop and smack of tomato guts exploding; we wanted the guts to drip down the walls and land on our cheeks and foreheads and congeal in our hair.

Christopher Schmidt

Poetry
TENEMENT
ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES

Julie King

Poetry
LOVE LETTER TO MY FATHER'S HEART
MOTHER'S PANTOUM

Peter Gizzi

BOLSHEVESCENT
DEAD AIR
AUBADE AND BEYOND

Jillian Weise

POUND, DRUNK ON A FORTY, GOES OFF

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

FOUR PLANES OF EXPERIENCE

Charlie Smith

LEAVES IN THE SUBWAY
ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO FAMILIAR AMERICAN TREES

James Galvin

THE SWAMP
TWO SKETCHES OF HORSES

Rick Bass

Rick Bass's life work - all three of them. Tin House assistant editor Ben George met with Bass to discuss fiction, family, and the writer's longtime environmental activism.

Alan Sillitoe

British novelist Alan Sillitoe speaks in clear English with poet and Tin House contributor Montana Wojczuk about working-class roots, vernacular style, and the end of a sequence.

Milan Kundera

GETTING INTO THE SOUL OF THINGS • The novel has its own muse. From Anna Karenina to Emma Bovary and beyond, the acclaimed author considers the novel in its own distinct art form.

Steve Almond

CONDIFREAKS SPEAK: A HATE MAIL COLLOQUY • The author publicly resigned fro Boston College when Condoleezza Rice was invited to speak at commencement. He received just a little hate mail in response. Here, a thoughtful reply.

Anthony Doerr

WE ARE MAPMAKERS • Time and space are no obstacle: around the earth with the stories of Alice Munro.

Stephen Elliot

WHERE I SLEPT • From October 1985 to August 1986: a teenage homeless year.

Paul Collins

AROUND THE WORLD IN 100 YEARS

Michael Rosenwald

ON ALVA JOHNSTON

Aaron Hamburger

ON SHOLEM ASCH'S Three Cities

Tommy Wallach

ON ZELDA FITZGERALD's Save Me the Waltz

Carol Paik

DUMPLINGS • Sometimes seeking your culinary roots is just a bad idea.