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Issue #52, Summer, 2012
In the late 1980s, the British music critic Simon Reynolds coined the term “miserabilism” to describe Morrissey and the numerous Manchester bands spreading their very personal gloom across the globe. The word could also be applied to the “Merritt Parkway Novel,” Gerald Howard’s term for the miserabilist fiction produced within a stone’s throw of the road cutting through affluent, suburban Connecticut, from Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit to Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road to Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm. Howard reevaluates the cultural impact of these novels and examines their continuing influence. Fittingly, Tin House 52 features work pushing the realistic envelope, including Amy Hempel’s powerful, closely observed story “A Full Service Shelter,” Alice Munro’s older couple coming to grips with mortality in “Dolly,” Sherman Alexie’s poem of loss and legacies in “Crazy Horse Boulevard,” and Anne Carson’s poetic essay on the idea of threat in “We Point the Bone.” Consider this summer reading as providing a few grains of sand in your suntan lotion, a little bit of grit to remind you of the depth and breadth of the human condition.
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Holly Goddard Jones, Amy Hempel, Alice Munro, Kristen Iskandrian, Jess Row, Alexander Maksik, Nina Buckless, Lee K. Abbott, Bennett Sims NEW VOICE
THE RIGHT WAY TO END A STORY • Julia had been tending a fantasy about the famous photographer who would be lodging with her at the college's guesthouse
A FULL-SERVICE SHELTER • They knew me as one who shot reeking crap out of cages with a hose - and liked it
DOLLY • There had been some discussion of death. Our deaths
THE INHERITORS • After my mother died, a lot of things went into boxes that then disappeared
SUMMER SONG • Much of what they did that summer involved watching
SNAKE RIVER GORGE • Brother, are you happy here? I mean, is this the way you imagined it going? Your life, I mean?
DEER • His mother had left him on Thompson's front walkway when he was only four days old
FROM HERE TO KINGDOM COME • He'd stopped pushing the bike to take a leak and there he was, his privates hanging out, when he noticed something - a body part
HOUSE-SITTING • Within moments of arriving at the cabin, you begin to suspect that the owner is a madman
Adrienne Rich, Cate Marvin, Sherman Alexie, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Barbara Ras, Sandra Beasley
THOUGHTS ON WISTERIA
ON THE INEPTITUDE OF CERTAIN HURRICANES
THE SWORD SWALLOWER'S VALENTINE
VALENTINE FOR THE GRAVE DIGGER
Gerald Howard, Anne Carson
NOTES ON THE MERRITT PARKWAY NOVEL • Lasciviousness and lassitude suffuse a subgenre of American belles lettres
WE POINT THE BONE: AN ESSAY ON THRĒAT • I was flailing at trauma. I worked without realistic expectation of follow-through, not much good at actual harm
Lost & Found:
Francine Prose, Paul Charles Griffin, Luis Jaramillo, Robin Romm, Aaron Hamburger
ON ANNIE ERNAUX'S A Man's Place • Wrestling with her father's existence leads the author to consider life's deepest questions
ON RAYMOND CHANDLER'S The Lady in the Lake • Marlowe's willingness to get up every day and do the right thing in a corrupt society can be an antidote for cynicism
ON E.M. DELAFIELD'S Diary of a Provincial Lady • It's amazing how persistent the feeling of not-enoughness can be
ON ALISON LURIE'S The War Between the Tates • Subtle judgments and withering observations abound in this book by a baleful comic artist at her most corrosive
ON PATRICIA HIGHSMITH'S The Tremor of Forgery • The American master of suspense manufactures a literary masterpiece
COOKING WITH FRIENDS • Guess who's coming to dinner? Monica, Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, and Ross!