“It is dangerous and illegal to walk on the highway.”
—Quote from the Michigan driver’s ed manual 
I grew up in Detroit, Motor City, and so my delight in carless transportation has always seemed a bit perverse. But anybody who is a writer knows the feeling. What we do might not be dangerous or illegal, but it can sometimes look a little crazy from the outside.
Currently Browsing: Reading Like a Writer

The Girls of Usually by Lori Horvitz (Book Review)

I met Lori Horvitz several years ago at an artists’ residency, where she was writing this book, then tentatively called “Dating My Mother.” She read the title piece, about her recent break-up with a woman whose eccentric restaurant behavior rivaled that of Lori’s mother, who once responded to a bug in a bowl of soup by saying, “It’s pepper. Just eat it.” The piece was sad, not only because it was about...

Review of L’Euphorie des Places de Marché by Christophe Carlier

[Note: The French translation follows the English version.] L’Euphorie des places des marché (Euphoria of the Marketplace). Paris: Serge Safran, 2014. Christophe Carlier is my favorite contemporary French novelist. I am not the only member of the Carlier fan club. His debut novel, Assassin à la Pomme Verte garnered both critical and popular acclaim, winning the 2012 First Novel Prize in France. Full...

Review of Happé par Sempé by Christophe Carlier

[Note: The French translation follows the English review.] Happé par Sempé by Christophe Carlier. Paris: Serge Safran, 2013. Happé par Sempé (Caught by Sempé) is a slim volume of first-person criticism, an art appreciation mixed with memoir. Perhaps most of all it is a long love letter from an acclaimed novelist to an iconic cartooonist. Jean-Jacques Sempé is best known in the United States for his New...

Review of a New Memoir

Michael Hainey’s new memoir, After Visiting Friends, exquisitely captures the magical thinking of a child trying to understand the premature death of his father. See my review in The Nervous Breakdown: Here is the link: The Nervous...

Writing Lessons I Learned From Pandas and Dragons

My nine-year-old daughter just entered two writing contests. “I hope I win,” she told me yesterday. “So do I,” I said. “But the odds are that you won’t. And if that happens, it doesn’t mean your story isn’t good.” One of the contests is run by the American Library in Paris, and I have no idea how many entries were received and how good they were, but I imagine the competition is stiff, and I told...

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