I’ve always come across Jim Shepard’s work, he pops up every other year or so, sometimes I find myself reading his stories, other times I completely miss them. When I miss his collections I feel horrible, but this time around the nice people at Knopf sent me an early copy of his new collection, You Think That’s Bad, which will be published in March of next year. Books are rarely sent to me unsolicited, Harper Perennial and Knopf are the exceptions, I like what they publish, they know what I like to read, and both houses recognize the power of early buzz from the blogsphere.
Percy’s muse is central Oregon, an area I’m quite familiar with, having spent a lot of time down there (between Bend and the high desert in Christmas Valley to the south). Like Dickey’s fictional Cahulawassee River Valley, Percy’s setting for The Wilding, Echo Canyon, is a rugged wilderness slated for destruction.
Zenyatta would have no place at Indian Mound Downs racetrack in West Virginia. IMD is a home for has-beens and never-weres, the drifters and the longshots, the schemers and the hangers-on in Lord of Misrule. Jaimy Gordon loves this riff-raff – men, women, and horses alike.
Bruce McPherson, publisher of McPherson and Co, was kind enough to send me an ARC for Lord of Misrule even though I’m sure he was being hounded by plenty of others after the unusual occurence of it having been named to the shortlist of the National Book Award a month before its release. It’s worthy of the hype. You can read my review this afternoon.
I read Paul Auster when I first came to New York City, I think it was around the time that The New York Trilogy came out, and I found it almost too good to be true. City of Glass really blew me away. I recall drunkenly telling strangers in a bar all about it, the moon being the key to life, George Washington throwing money across the river, and chopping down the tree of life, just to name a few little details from that great story.
I don’t think I could presume to answer that question given that American society is so extraordinarily complicated today and growing increasingly so by the day. It’s very difficult to follow a dream nowadays, but maybe that’s always been the case. Certainly the economics militate against it. It seems to me that there are more people than ever attempting to escape a straitjacket and yet because of the economy we’re more tied than ever to the great economic monsters for survival.