Upcoming fiction reviews: sharpen your keyboards

Next up in the New Yorker is a story -- or maybe a novel excerpt, because we don't really know, do we -- by J. M. Coetzee. The week after that is cek's story, "Ashes," which will not be reviewed here, due to EG recusing itself from reviewing published work by Goats. We should just sit back, read it, and be happy for her, and tell her how happy we are again. At any rate, there'll be no review. Just champagne popping.

In early July (on newstands July 12), we will reap the upside of the Atlantic's controversial decision to gather all its fiction into one annual issue. The fiction is being explicitly billed as "putting short-story readers center stage." Hopefully, then, the pieces will not be novel excepts in drag.

Here are the writers who will have "new tales" in the issue:

Joyce Carol Oates
Adam Haslett
Charles Baxter
Shira Nayman
Marc Jacobs
George Singleton
Maximilian Schlaks

Dearest Goats and Babies (and honorary Goats and Babies), if you'd like to call front seat on the Coetzee piece or one of these Atlantic ones and be the one to post analysis of it on this screen, shoot me an email (see my profile if you don't have it). First come, first serve. No way can I do all those. Plus I'll be gone July 8 - 15.

Maybe I'm deluding myself, but I feel that pounding out opinions on and reading responses to the scant short fiction that's still coming out in national publications is helping me retain a dim awareness of what makes fiction work or not and why. I certainly don't have time to be reading all the contemporary novels that I should be reading, and stories are helping to fill the gap. I hope some folks feel the same and want to help keep the effort rolling. (If you feel that the exercises are pointless or unhelpful, or if you're sick of being confronted with solicitations like this, let me know that, too.)

P.S. In the Atlantic issue there will also be an essay by Rick Moody on "what goes wrong in writing workshops" and one by the lovely and talented Curtis Sittenfeld on "the very satisfying perils of success."


writer type said...

Where did you find out about the contents of the upcoming Atlantic issue?

Grendel said...

There is a full-page ad in the current issue.

writer type said...

Thanks so much. I'm living abroad and don't have access to the issue. Does it say anything else besides listing out who's going to be in it? Is it an appealing ad? Do you think anyone is going to read the issue?

I like your work, by the way.

Grendel said...

It's on page 139. It's not a tremendously appealing ad -- it took me two flips through the mag just to find it again. It doesn't show the cover, just a graphic of a guy reading a book on a park bench on a field of yellow with black and red text. It doesn't say much else besides ad copy.

Where are you living? Are you going to be in the magazine?

writer type said...

Actually, I kind of am going to be in the issue. Just wondering if you think people will read it and pay attention to it, or if it will just be more short stories being sloughed off into the stratosphere.

Grendel said...

Well, it IS the Atlantic Monthly! They took so much flak for culling the monthly fiction that this issue will probably spark a lot of interest, I would think, even if only to see how it's going to work. Some big names in there, too. Plus summer reading -- it'll be in a lot of backbacks and briefcases for weks, I imagine. I for one will be reading it! Way to go, getting in, whoever you are, wherever you are.

writer type said...

Thanks, Grendel, for the 'way to go.' I'm glad you'll be reading it. I'll look on your blogg to see what you think of the stories. If you happen to mention mine and hate it, well, dem's the breaks. If you like it, I will be pleased. (By the way, I'm not Joyce Carol Oates.) Good luck with your own writing. I'm sure it's very good.

writer type said...

By the way, how would you summarize your blog and what you're trying to do? You seem like an accomplished, supportive bunch. I don't know much about blogs (this is the first one I've visited). Everyone has been telling me that no one reads fiction anymore, and certainly not short stories. I guess it depends what they mean by "no one." It sesems like y'all read lots of it, though. Perhaps you are survivalists, or something, living in a cave in Montana, the last literary strong-hold in this superspeedy nonliterate, high-tech world.

Grendel said...

How mysterious and intriguing! Thanks for posting here. I look forward to reading all those stories, though -- ahem -- I only two fellow Goats have stepped forward with offers to review. Maybe more will. Otherwise, it may be slower going than I planned. Take care.

Grendel said...

Writer Type: This is a blog for the 2003 class of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. There is some blending with the 2004 class, whose official blog, that you;d also enjoy, is Babies Are Fireproof (babiesarefireproof.blogspot.com).

I can't speak for the Babies, which inspired me, but I started this one to sort of throw a lasso around the disapora of my class after graduation. Not all of us who graduated are part of the blog(s), but enough are that it's turned into a great way to stay in touch and keep talking about writing.

Some of us, like me, are still in Iowa City. The rest are scattered to the Four Winds. If you're ever in this neck of the woods, let me know (click my name to get my profile and email address) and I'll buy you a beer and show you the town.

btw, Check out the "Lit Blog" links in the right column for more. Ranch Road 12 is a U. Texas MFA blog, for example. And Ropes of Sand is the just-begun IWW class of 2005 blog.

PJKM said...

Grendel - I'll do one or two of the stories: don't worry.

mediajunkie2 said...

Looks as if The Atlantic's Fiction issue is now available online here:


The site has supplemented the issue with web-only interviews with Mike Curtis, Joyce Carol Oates, and Adam Haslett.

writer type said...

Is anyone disappointed in any of the issue? For anyone who's read some of it online.

Polymathic said...
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