Tag Archives: memoir

Confessions of a Juggler

February 14 & 21, 2011: Confessions of a Juggler by Tina Fey

“How do you juggle it all?” people constantly ask me, with an accusatory look in their eyes. “You’re screwing it all up, aren’t you?” their eyes say.

Tina Fey’s reflections on juggling motherhood and career are surprisingly warm, and (not surprisingly) funny. If that whole “30 Rock” gig falls through, I hope she starts writing the “Shouts & Murmurs” column.

I was looking forward to Mary Gaitskill’s story in this issue, “The Other Place.” And though it was perfectly written, as you would expect, and the story of the would-be-killer on whom the tables are painfully turned was interesting, in the end it felt more than a little gratuitous. I would expect that if a New Yorker story takes on a chestnut like “even a mild-mannered father who teaches his son to fly fish in the back yard could be a serial killer at heart,” it would be done in a way that pushes the envelope or adds a new spark to the cold embers of the trope. Alas, “The Other Place” does neither.

New Yorker Recycling Project: another roundup

I’m clearing out some more of the stack of New Yorkers that always seem to get way ahead of me, and in the spirit of The New Yorkerest noting the best pieces. If you should happen to run into one of these issues in a waiting room, these are the can’t-miss stories and articles.

March 7, 2011

Backbone by David Foster Wallace

Nor was it ever established precisely why this boy had devoted himself to the goal of being able to press his lips to every square inch of his own body. It is not clear even that he conceived of the goal as an “achievement” in any conventional sense.

Wallace mixes historical discussions of contortionists, yogis, and stigmatists with the story of a young boy who is methodically perfecting his flexibility so he can kiss each part of his body. Having kissed it once, he moves on to the next spot, with grueling focus. As an aside, one wonders if David Foster Wallace will be the American answer to Roberto Bolaño, with a torrent of posthumous publications.

Story’s End by Meghan O’Rourke

Yet the story of Orpheus, it occurs to me, is not just about the desire of the living to resuscitate the dead but about the ways in which the dead drag us along into their shadowy realm because we cannot let them go.

A touching, brief memoir about stories, reading, lakes, and death.

February 28, 2011

Paranoia by Said Sayrafiezadeh

When April arrived, it started to get warm and everyone said that the war was definitely going to happen soon and there was nothing anybody could do to stop it.

A bleak, uneasy story about the nervousness–personal and political–of the contemporary world.

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