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Showing posts from July, 2015

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Duniazat" by Salman Rushdie

Issue: June 1, 2015

Story (novel excerpt): "The Duniazat" by Salman Rushdie

Rating: $$

Review: Rushdie is another one of those contemporary authors that I'm embarrassed to say I had zero exposure to prior to reading this story. The first and best thing I can say about this "story" -- really an excerpt from his upcoming novel Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (1,001 nights, in case you're counting) -- is that it makes me want to read more Rushdie.

Set in Spain in the year 1195, the story involves the philosopher Ibn Rushd, who gets exiled from the royal palace and has to go live in a small town. There he is visited by a "jinni" (genie) in disguise as a young woman named Dunia. The two fall in love and start having children. Because she's a jinni, she has multiple children at a time, a sort of "tribe" in fact, which Rushd dubs the "Duniazat". Ultimately, Dunia disappears into a puff of smoke and Rushd is allowed bac…

New Yorker Fiction Review: "So You're Just What, Gone?" by Justin Taylor

Issue: May 18, 2015
Story: "So You're Just What, Gone?" by Justin Taylor
Rating: $/Meh
Review: A young teenage girl gets on a plane and sits next to a man who gives her his cell phone number. She, being a curious (and ignorant (and kind of stupid)) teenage girl, texts him late at night and gets involved in a sext message exchange that, while thankfully does not result in an actual meet-up, provides her an eerie glimpse into a world of perverted sexuality she might have guessed was out there but had never actually encountered before. 
At first read it was tempting for me to look at this story and lament the fact that the modern world makes it so much easier for perverts to operate, what with cell phones, the internet, etc. but but I don't necessarily think that's the point of this story and I don't think that, in fact, the world is any more or less dangerous for children now than it was 20 or 50 or 100 years ago because of the internet or whatever. There are cree…