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Winter Reading

Issue #42, 2009

It is impossible for the heart not to leap when the formidable storywriter Antonya Nelson delivers "iff," once again showing why she is one of the masters of the short form. Then there is Ben Marcus, who, in true literary-convention-spanking style presents us with "The Moors," in which he blatantly ignores Fiction Rule Number 12: It is impossible to write a thirty-seven page story about a hapless man tied in knots over what to say to a colleague as they arrive at the coffee station at the same time. One would have to be made of ice not to succumb to the dark charms of the irrepressible novelist Amélie Nothomb--imagine Marguerite Dura's precocious, perversely funny little sister. We hope that you will be as seduced as we were by Paris Editor Heather Hartley's interview with the author--along with an excerpt from her newly translated novel, Hygiene and the Assassin. If reading new poetry from Michael Dickman, Dorianne Laux, and D. Nurske doesn't make you crow with joy over the state of modern American poetry, well, we can give you the address of a nice little booby hatch in upstate New York. If that wasn't enough, we're throwing in a puzzle where you, dear reader, along with a friend, can rewrite Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."

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Antonya Nelson

IFF • Only occasionally is there evidence of a flaw, a public announcement of failure, the open spectacle of something gone horrendously wrong.

Karen Shepard

THERE BE MONSTERS • When she's at her grimmest, she thinks of him as a toad.

Amélie Nothomb

EXCERPT FROM HYGIENE AND THE ASSASSIN • What might be the thoughts and moods of a great writer who knows he is going to die?

Ben Marcus

THE MOORS • At work today, Thomas the Dead made a grave miscalculation by using baby with a colleague.

Keith Lee Morris

WHAT I WANT FROM YOU • You didn't know that even with Ryan dying there under the blanket we had interesting things to do.

Michael Dickman


D. Nurkse


Dorianne Laux


David Trinidad


Tadeusz Dabrowski


Jeff Snowbarger

BITTER FRUIT • Blanton would sleep as sound as a winter bear that night and beyond, not knowing half of what I did about Ely's last months.

Allyson Paty


Amelie Nothomb

France has adopted this writer of the world, who has as many selves as places she's lived. She speaks with Tin House Paris Editor Heather Hartley about Rilke, the pregnancy of creation, and the mysterious reality of the written word.

Roy Blount Jr.

The polymath auhtor of more than twenty books, including his most recent , Alphabet Juice, chats with Cassandra Cleghorn about grammer, shade-tree etymology, and hating one's mother.

Ana Menendez

FROM KANDAHAR TO HERAT • On an expedition through Afghanistan, a journalist wonders: is the Taliban all that bad?

Geoff Nicholson

ON DAVID CARRADINE'S Endless Highway Not even David Carradine can karate chop his way back from death. This isn't Highlander.

Dani Shapiro

ON ELLEN MILLER'S Like Being Killed A teacher wonders at the meteoric rise, and fall, of a former student.

Steve Almond

ON MICHAEL ARLEN'S Living-room War It's not just Road Rules or The Bachelor; television has always had trouble capturing reality.

A. N. Devers

ON MARÍA LOUISA BOMBAL'S The House of Mist A Chilean woman on the lam doesn't run from the truth.

Jennifer Gilmore

ON ULI BEIGEL'S Victoria at Night and Other Stories A New Yorker explored and tried to chart the rules of the game of femininity.

Roxana Robinson

KENTUCKY BREAD • A recipe for bread gives rise to a meditation on the nuances of a family's history.