The Paris Review Interviews, I by The Paris Review

How do great writers do it? From James M. Cain's hard-nosed observation that "writing a novel is like working on foreign policy. There are problems to be solved. It's not all inspirational," to Joan Didion's account of how she composes a book--"I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It gets me into a rhythm"--The Paris Review has elicited some of the most revelatory and revealing thoughts from the literary masters of our age. For more than half a century, the magazine has spoken with most of our leading novelists, poets, and playwrights, and the interviews themselves have come to be recognized as classic works of literature, an essential and definitive record of the writing life. They have won the coveted George Polk Award and have been a contender for the Pulitzer Prize. Now, Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch introduces an entirely original selection of sixteen of the most celebrated interviews. Often startling, always engaging, these encounters contain an immense scope of intelligence, personality, experience, and wit from the likes of Elizabeth Bishop, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Rebecca West, and Billy Wilder. This is an indispensable book for all writers and readers.

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The Paris Review Interviews, II by The Paris Review

Since The Paris Review was founded in 1953, it has given us invaluable conversations with the greatest writers of our age, vivid self-portraits that are themselves works of finely crafted literature. From William Faulkner's determination that a great novel takes "ninety-nine percent talent . . . ninety-nine percent discipline . . . ninety-nine percent work," to Gabriel García Márquez's observation that "in the first paragraph, you solve most of the problems with your book," The Paris Review has elicited revelatory and revealing thoughts from our most accomplished novelists, poets, and playwrights. With an introduction by Orhan Pamuk, this volume brings together another rich, varied crop of literary voices, including Toni Morrison, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Graham Greene, James Baldwin, Stephen King, Philip Larkin, Eudora Welty, and more. "A colossal literary event," as Gary Shteyngart put it, The Paris Review Interviews, II, is an indispensable treasury of wisdom from the world's literary masters.

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The Paris Review Interviews, III by The Paris Review

Since The Paris Review was founded in 1953, it has given us invaluable conversations with the greatest writers of our age, vivid self-portraits that are themselves works of finely crafted literature. From Salman Rushdie's daring rhetorical question "why shouldn't literature provoke?" to Joyce Carol Oates's thrilling comments about her own prolific output, The Paris Review has elicited revelatory and revealing thoughts from our most accomplished novelists, poets, and playwrights. How did Geroges Simenon manage to write about six books a year, what was it like for Jan Morris to write as both a man and a woman, what influences moved Ralph Ellison to write Invisible Man? In the pages of The Paris Review, writers give more than simple answers, they offer uncommon candor, depth, and wit in interviews that have become the gold standard of the literary Q&A. With an introduction by Margaret Atwood, this volume brings together another rich, varied crop of literary voices, including Martin Amis, Norman Mailer, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Harold Pinter, and more. "A colossal literary event," as Gary Shteyngart put it, The Paris Review Interviews, III, is an indespensible teasure of wisdom from the world's literary masters.

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The Paris Review Interviews, IV by The Paris Review

This critically acclaimed series continues with another eclectic lineup, including Philip Roth, Ezra Pound, Haruki Murakami, Marilynne Robinson, Stephen Sondheim, E. B. White, Maya Angelou, William Styron and more. In each of these remarkable extended conversations, the authors touch every corner of the writing life, sharing their ambitions, obsessions, inspirations, disappointments, and the most idiosyncratic details of their writing habits. 

The collected interviews of The Paris Reviews are, as Gary Shteyngart put it, "a colossal literary event."

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The Incarnations by Susan Barker

Hailed by The New York Times for its “wildly ambitious...dazzling use of language” and “mesmerizing storytelling,” The Incarnations is a “brilliant, mind-expanding, and wildly original novel” (Chris Cleave) about a Beijing taxi driver whose past incarnations over one thousand years haunt him through searing letters sent by his mysterious soulmate.

Who are you? you must be wondering. I am your soulmate, your old friend, and I have come back to this city of sixteen million in search of you.

So begins the first letter that falls into Wang’s lap as he flips down the visor in his taxi. The letters that follow are filled with the stories of Wang’s previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars, and being a teenager on the Red Guard during the cultural revolution—bound to his mysterious “soulmate,” spanning one thousand years of betrayal and intrigue.

As the letters continue to appear seemingly out of thin air, Wang becomes convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for over a century. And with each letter, Wang feels the watcher growing closer and closer…

Seamlessly weaving Chinese folklore, history, literary classics, and the notion of reincarnation, this is a taut and gripping novel that reveals the cyclical nature of history as it hints that the past is never truly settled.

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Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.

Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.

Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.

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In the Sounds of the Seas by Marnie Galloway

IN THE SOUNDS AND SEAS, a wordless comic characterized by poetic investigations in to mythology and the quest for meaning-making, brought to life by the mesmerizingly patterned ink illustrations of award-winning author Marnie Galloway. In the style of epic poems of myth and monsters, IN THE SOUNDS AND SEAS opens with a creation myth: three figures sit around a fire in the woods and burst in to song, and their voices weave and blend together to make the ocean and the world. Within this new world the boundary between truth and fiction, fantasy and reality, are blurred. The protagonist lives in this “sung” landscape where she builds a ship to sail and find the legendary singers of their world, with the help of two others who are less haunted by her mission. It is a story about obsessive creative production, the search for creative community and meaning through art, and what happens when dreams we invest our whole selves in to fail.

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All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky is a deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

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