On James Salter.

Enigmatic—and brilliant—writer James Salter has died. Invariably, the obituaries and online remembrances call him a “writer’s writer” and point to his reverential, if small, following. That is probably true. It’s ironic, then, that Salter’s true gift was how he was able to encompass the entire human experience. A couple years ago I first encountered Salter in reviewing […]

A Postcard from W.G. Sebald.

What a lovely postcard from W.G. Sebald, sent to Barbara Epler after she accepted an award for him, in 1999. Even in this small communication, you can get a feel for his aesthetic. If only he were alive to be writing  a few more postcards—and a few more books.

Literary Flaneurs.

As I’m a sucker for a good story that involves a bunch of meditative walking—from W.G. Sebald to Rousseau to Ben Lerner to Teju Cole, just to name a few—anybody taking on the moniker flaneur immediately piques my interest. Hence why I’m keeping up a series of other flaneurs over at PANK, including this delightful one from […]

On the Pleasures and Solitudes of Quiet Books.

Lovely essay by Emily St. John Mandel at The Millions on so-called “quiet” books: Lately, possibly because it’s been a long summer of continuous hard work on a new novel and I don’t want to think about plot just now, or perhaps because my annual allotment of vacation days at my day job resets every September […]