Monday, April 21, 2008

New week, new Oates

  • Brenda Wineapple reviews Joyce Carol Oates' latest story collection in The New York Times.
And it's a collection of fictionalized stories about the last days of a handful of great writers -- Twain, Poe, Hemingway, Henry James, Emily Dickinson. She'll be publishing her restaurant menus soon enough.
But dysfunction is the subject of her hilarious and harrowing new collection, “Wild Nights!” With a title borrowed from Emily Dickinson’s fiery poem of longing (“Wild Nights — Wild Nights! / Were I with thee / Wild Nights should be / Our luxury!”), these stories ingeniously imagine the last documented days (or nights) of Dickinson and four other writers: Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Henry James and Ernest Hemingway. It’s a gem of a book — a pathography, in fact — about creativity and age and the complicated, anxiety-ridden relationship between the two. (“Mornings when work does not come are long mornings,” Oates’s Hemingway declares on the day of his death.)

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