Florida, by Lauren Groff

For the past couple of years I’ve been reading lots of short story collections by living American writers, looking for something that sparks with creativity, not often finding much. Lauren Groff is generally accepted as one of the prime divas of the MFA world of writing. The stories in this new collection, “Florida” (Riverhead Books, […]

If on a winter’s night a traveler, by Italo Calvino

  THE ACME OF METAFICTION, THE QUINTESSENCE OF POSTMODERNISM Some important works of fiction deserve another look, another read, even some forty years after their original publication. Such is Italo Calvino’s tour de force of a novel—published originally in Italian as Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore in 1979, translated into English by William Weaver […]

The Beginning of Spring, by Penelope Fitzgerald

Originally published in England by Collins, 1988; republished by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, a Mariner Books paperback edition, 2015, 246 pp. Set in Russia in 1913, this is an astounding book. Seldom does a novel so astound me. My first question is “How did Penelope Fitzgerald do it?” In an article on the writer […]

The Best American Short Stories, 2017

The Best American Short Stories, 2017 (Selected from U.S. and Canadian Magazines by Meg Wolitzer with Heidi Pitlor), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017, 303 pp. Ten years ago the writer Elif Batuman wrote an article on two anthologies titled Best American Short Stories, for the years 2004 and 2005. Her amazing conclusion, well-reasoned and argued, was […]