[This is a comment–regarding some recent posts here–that I. Fontana posted and also sent out to me & Ken, and we thought it was worth presenting on the main page for those who missed it. I. Fontana knows whereof he speaks, and he’s one of my favorite “new” writers out there. Love his short stories, which I’ve linked on HTMLGIANT before, and I know he’s got some other stuff in the works that I’m very, very excited to see published. –N.A.
Nick says it: I. Fontana says it. Presented with no further ado: –K.B.]
Superagent Nat Sobel said in an interview last summer that he chooses at most one in 500 unsolicited manuscripts to represent in a given year. Grove/Atlantic, HarperCollins etcetera — all the major New York publishing houses, in other words — explicitly announce that they will not read any manuscript which does not come from an established agent.
In the early 19th century, literature (and in particular the novel) evolved into a popular art form generally serialized each week in newspapers, which meant that in order to keep the particular novel being read, there had to be narrative pull, even cliffhangers — in general, plot. But this meant that the socalled “unwashed masses” now were exposed to such writing, so that writers no longer had to hang around court or otherwise suck up to aristocrats, publishing their books by subscriptions to the wealthy (which constriction obviously required that the wealthy find such books pleasing). Democracy means including the lowest common denominator as well as the connoisseur.
Wow, I just read the Bolaño story in the most recent New Yorker—it’s here, and it’s called “William Burns”–and I loved it. First anything by Bolaño that I’ve loved. I had very mixed feelings about 2666. But this was great. It kind of reminded me of a Ligotti story, with the degrees of distance from the narrator, the surreal dread, the shifting perceptions of the source of danger, and the dreamlike progression. It feels like transcribed dream, which is of particular interest to me at the moment.
Similarly, I’m loving I. Fontana’s “UB” at Spork, just as I loved the Jean Harlow story from a while back. I’m interested in anything Fontana writes these days; he knows what he’s doing.
February 3rd, 2010 / 7:28 pm
– Jackie Corley’s Word Riot Press, which published Midnight Picnic by me, just announced that they’re going to be publishing collections of short stories by the excellent Paula Bomer, former HTMLGIANT contributor and good friend of mine (here’s a short story by Paula called “A Galloping Infection”) and the excellent Mike Young, editor of NOO Journal and also a good friend of mine (here’s a short story by Mike called “Ten Gallon Bucket of Fries”).
– New story by I. Fontana at Spork.
– I was walking through the grass today and saw a black snake as long as my arm but as thin as a pencil go slithering right in front of me.
– A huge pink-eyed white cat was yowling under my window at dawn.
– Did you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? I read it on a plane. It made me think I can never be successful.
– I can’t wait to read The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis. (Great title.) I get the feeling most of my literary peers don’t like Amis much.