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Showing posts from February, 2019

New Yorker Fiction Review #218: "Cream" by Haruki Murakami

Review of a short story from the Jan. 28, 2019 issue of The New Yorker...

Haruki Murakami has earned a special place in my heart over the past few years. Despite several unsuccessful attempts to read his novels over the years, I have read at least a half-dozen of his short stories now simply because of reading and reviewing the short stories in The New Yorker.

I don't think it's necessary to get into the plot of this story. With Murakami, it's always mysterious, vague, lonely, slightly super-natural, and impossible -- in the end -- to make sense of or find immediate meaning. The rewards of a Haruki Murakami story are not always immediately available, perhaps because the reward of a Haruki Murakami story is the story itself; it exists because it exists, it does not exist to entertain or blow you away or bring you to your literary knees.

What I think is unique about this story is, however, that Haruki Murakami essentially provides the key to understanding his work right in t…

New Yorker Fiction Review #217: Two Stories from the Archival Issue

Review of two short stories from the Dec. 3, 2018 Archival Issue of The New Yorker...

I've been reading The New Yorker on and off for my entire adult life and really regularly for about the past 4-5 years, but somehow I did not realize they did this "archival issue" thing. Basically, it's an issue made up of interesting stories pulled from long-ago issues of the magazine. Much more interesting than you'd think and because of it I read two good stories from the 40s and 50s and a piece on the great British poet W.H. Auden who I barely knew a thing about. To the reviews...

"Snowing in Greenwich Village" by John Updike (1956)

John Updike is one of those mid-20th century, East Coast white male writers that's been on my reading list for a while, much like John Cheever, but whom I can never seem to get around to sitting down to read. Which is why I'm glad every once in a while The New Yorker digs into its fiction vault and brings one of their old storie…