The Kingdom of No

The Kingdom of No

Lamy, New Mexico, 1920

It was so early in the morning that the light could hardly be called light, and an unseasonable frost lay over the ground like a warning. Hector Olivares, esq, sat in his automobile, holding tightly to …

Taffy of Turvyland

Taffy of Turvyland

The whole thing—to do it and to bring her here, home where the back room is empty, clean, with burglar bars covering windows on banana plants in the alley, all that:  Jon’s idea. We’ve laid in a supply of Depends …

The Escape Artist

The Escape Artist

J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist, by Thomas Beller. New Harvest, 2014. $20, 192 pages.

J.D. Salinger wasn’t in the middle school canon where I grew up. Ventura, California, for most of my life, was a gerrymandered center-right political district. So my …

The Scar

I have a friend who has always been thin. Both Sasha’s parents, well into their fifties, are lanky, and, for as long as I have known Sasha—into our earliest years of schooling—her parents have been this way, pale academics, who …

Melissa Malouf

Melissa Malouf

The title of Melissa Malouf’s new novel, More Than You Know (Dalkey Archive Press, 2014), is more than the title of a classic Vincent Youmans’ song from the 1930s. It’s also a reflection on the perpetual state of mind of the …

Bandana

My father wears dark bandanas. That’s his thing. The one time I saw his head without one, I was ten, passing by the cracked door of his room, and there his bare head was, like a floodlight, round and direct …

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

An experiment with the form of the nineteenth-century-style review: mega-long excerpts connected by impressionistic ligaments.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider, by Katherine Anne Porter. Random House, 1936.

Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell tried to persuade Charlotte Brontë—whose grim experience of the …