Emdashes. Modern Times Between the Lines.

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule
Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians archive

About Emdashes | Email us

 

Benjamin Chambers writes:

On the eve of the release of The New Yorker’s fiction issue, it seems like the right time to mention (again) how amazing the magazine’s fiction podcasts are. Back in January, I reviewed the 2008 podcasts and even threw in a plug for this year’s reading by Thomas McGuane of James Salter’s chilling story, “Last Night.”

Now there’s three more treats waiting for the unwary:

(continued)

Benjamin Chambers writes:

A couple of weeks ago, I used the random number generator to find a 2004 story from The New Yorker that I’d never read before by Yoko Ogawa, “The Cafeteria in the Evening and the Pool in the Rain.” This week, it took me to to the January 24, 1994 issue of TNY and Steven Polansky’s story, “Leg.”

In the story (and yeah, there are spoilers coming), Dave Long is a forty-four-year-old whose main trouble appears to be his thirteen-year-old son Randy’s new and implacable anger, a by-product of adolescence, which he spews at Dave every chance he gets. Even Dave’s liking for reading is a target:

(continued)

Benjamin Chambers writes:

Continuing in a format I adopted last week to provide mini-reviews of some recent stories from The New Yorker, I reach slightly farther back this week and throw in a more recent story by J.G. Ballard for good measure. [Again, watch out for spoilers below.]

Let’s begin, in fact, with the J.G. Ballard’s “The Autobiography of J.G.B.,” from the May 11, 2009 issue.

Plot: The main character, B (whom we are invited, because of the title, to associate with the author), wakes one day to find a world in which all other human beings have vanished. With little trouble, he adjusts and prepares for his own survival.

The Story’s Final Line: “Thus the year ended peacefully, and B was ready to begin his true work.”

Verdict: Ballard’s tricky, and his predilection

(continued)

Benjamin Chambers writes:

I’ve been catching up on recent New Yorker stories, so I thought I’d provide a quick-ish summary of them, using a model I ripped off from Martin. [Warning: there are spoilers below.]

The Slows,” by Gail Hareven (trans. Yaacov Jeffrey Green), May 4, 2009
Plot: An anthropologist has one last encounter with one of the “savages” he has studied for years, though he finds her kind repellent. The “savages,” like the anthropologist, are human, but they have refused a technique that greatly speeds human growth and development, setting them apart.
Key Quote:
No doubt the savages were a riddle that science had not yet managed to solve,
(continued)

Benjamin Chambers writes:

Following Martin’s example, when he used the random number generator to select Profiles to read from The New Yorker’s vast archives (his first was a three-part series on Chicago by A. J. Liebling from 1952), I decided to use it to find a short story to read from the archives.

The random number generator came up with “2004” (year “79” out of 84) and then the “36th” story out of 54 published that year: Yoko Ogawa’s story, “The Cafeteria in the Evening and a Pool in the Rain.”

I’d not heard of Ogawa before. She’s had two stories appear

(continued)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree
Pretty!