It was snowing, big wet chunks falling everywhere. Morningside Avenue and Morningside Drive are two different things, and this particular afternoon in February was a bad time to realize that, because they’re separated by a park with a steep cliff that drops off sharply, and I was at the bottom of the cliff. I believe I already mentioned the snow. By the time I arrived at the writer Sam Lipsyte’s apartment—40 minutes late—at the higher point of the journey, my clothes were soaked through with cold water and sweat and the sole of my right shoe had fallen off. Mr. Lipsyte answered the door looking surprised. I coughed twice.
This wasn’t the graceful entrance I was hoping for, but there was something appropriate about it; Mr. Lipsyte’s fiction is about lowered expectations. In his 2010 novel The Ask, the middle-aged protagonist, Milo Burke, a failed idealist and former artist who’s recently been fired from his job asking people whose lives worked out better than his to donate money to a university, thinks to himself, “How little I resembled the man I figured for the secret chief of my several selves.” The novel is a comedic masterpiece, but depending on where the reader is in life, it can seem much less funny.
Goodbye to all that
Everybody in New York publishing is very happy for Ira Silverberg. The former literary agent, a fixture in the industry for 26 years, started his new job as literary director at the National Endowment for the Arts earlier this week. And from the day his departure was announced to the day the job began, colleagues and clients have affected determined good cheer.
“I’m sorry for his writers,” said Sarah Burnes, a literary agent and friend. “But I’m happy for the writers of America.”
“It’s the perfect job for him,” said Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review, “securing money for worthy projects — especially projects that aren’t on the face of it worthy or obvious.”
But beneath all the breezy congratulations a hint of dread could be detected. Ira Silverberg might have left New York, but was New York ready to lose Ira Silverberg? Especially to Washington D.C.?
Frustrated because you can’t very well buy the Steve Jobs biography for all your Republican uncles this Christmas? Well the Paris Review has the perfect solution: a holiday auction offering the company of its editors and friends! Act quickly — high tea with Jon-Jon Goulian, “one of New York’s best read and dressed and most charming conversationalists,” is going for $100.
Lorin Stein, Paris Review editor and lover of corduroy, has done an interview with Park & Bond, the online menswear catalog.
Before Jeffrey Eugenides was attacked on a Princeton-bound train by a man singing a ditty about his genitals, the author of Middlesex was having a pretty nice boys’ night out.
“We’d had an outstanding celebratory dinner at Marea,” Farrar, Strauss & Giroux president Jonathan Galassi—his date for the evening—told The Observer. “Then I dropped Jeff Read More
Spider-Senses were working overtime at the battle of comic publishing houses on the softball field as the Marvel Knights decimated DC Comic’s Bullets 19-4. Supermen and Wonder Women, DC was not.
Highbrow softball season is continuing—full-swing, of course—through the summer. Monday afternoon’s game pitting The Paris Review against High Times betrayed the hyper-intellectualized and mellow qualities respective to the publications playing.
Gay Talese was on the edge of his seat. James Salter stood in a canvas jacket, about to give his speech at the Paris Review Spring Revel in his cracked but majesterial tenor, and Gay Talese was really, really liking it.
“He was just giddy,” said Philip Gourevitch, who took over the Review after Read More
Michel Houellebecq may once have been France’s controversy-prone outlaw novelist, but he now resides comfortably within the establishment.
After years of being denied the honor, the writer will receive this year’s Prix Goncourt, the AP reports. The distinction — France’s top lit award — counts Marcel Proust and Simone de Beauvoir among its recipients. Read More
Last week, the new editor of The Paris Review, Lorin Stein, told The Observer that he and his recently installed poetry editor, Robyn Creswell, were preparing a “holy shit” poetry section for their first issue at the helm, due out Sept. 15.
“Robyn and I have been arguing about poems since we met,” said Read More