The New Yorker Will Serialize Jennifer Egan’s Short Story on Twitter, Starting Tonight


What are you doing from 8-9 p.m. tonight, and for the next nine nights after that?

Tweeting about the shows you’re watching on your ex-boyfriend’s mom’s HBO Go account? Staring at your iPhone until you know shows up at the party? Catching up on your Sexstrology?

Good! Then you’ll be in just the place to catch “Black Box,” Jennifer Egan‘s latest New Yorker story, which will be serialized on Twitter, starting tonight.

The installments of <140 character paragraphs will be rounded up each day on the New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog, and the full story will appear in the Monday “Science Fiction” issue.

Over on Page-Turner, Ms. Egan explained that when she wrote “Black Box” she was interested in “fiction that takes the form of lists; stories that appear to be told inadvertently, using a narrator’s notes to him or herself.”

“Another long-term goal of mine has been to take a character from a naturalistic story and travel with her into a different genre,” she wrote, citing Jon Scieszka‘s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!, as inspiration.”I wondered whether I could do something analogous with a character from my novel A Visit From the Goon Squad: create a cartoon version of that person, for example—or, in this case, a spy-thriller version.”

“I found myself imagining a series of terse mental dispatches from a female spy of the future, working undercover by the Mediterranean Sea. I wrote these bulletins by hand in a Japanese notebook that had eight rectangles on each page. The story was originally nearly twice its present length; it took me a year, on and off, to control and calibrate the material into what is now ‘Black Box.'”

Though clearly attuned to the artistic potential of the medium, Ms. Egan is a spartan tweeter and has faced some technical difficulties of late. Her account was hacked by a vitamin supplements company.

<em>The New Yorker</em> Will Serialize Jennifer Egan’s Short Story on Twitter, Starting Tonight