Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Literature in the Current Issue of The New Yorker

The New Yorker is, among other things, a literary magazine, one of the reasons I like it so much (as I have posted to say before). The current issue (June 13 & 20, 2011) is particularly focused on literature, with three short stories (rather than the usual one), a literary memoir, and a special section, "Starting Out," comprised of short pieces by various authors about their early years. For me, the highlights are as follows: 1. Jhumpa Lahiri's memoiristic essay, "Trading Stories," about how she became a reader and then a writer, starting in childhood, and how she always felt torn between her Indian and American identities. 2. Jeffrey Eugenides' story, "Asleep in the Lord," about a young American man who goes to do volunteer work in Mother Teresa's home for dying poor people in Calcutta, and about what he learns about himself there. 3. Lauren Groff's wrenching story, "Above and Below," about a female graduate student who loses her connection to academe, becomes destitute and homeless, and suffers much hardship. 4. Salvatore Scibona's short piece about how he disliked school and assigned reading, but somehow heard about and was accepted at St. John's College, which utilized the Great Books approach, and was challenged, exhilarated, and educated through learning Greek and reading "The Iliad," Copernicus, Einstein, Hegel, Darwin, Baudelaire and much much more.

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