Cooler Writers?

Pop Lit Fiction

–in which we continue Part III, “The Young Writers,” of our overview of today’s literary scene, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” Continue reading the essay here, as we’ve added commentary about the second of four young writers to be profiled, Eli Cranor. THEN read Eli’s excellent short story about the teaching profession, “Five Minutes.”

As you’ll see, the question posed during this part of the essay is, “Can writers become cultural stars?” Our answer to the question is a resounding “YES!”– but we acknowledge it won’t be easy. Every cultural force has its beginnings. With the Beatles it was dive clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg. With revived literature, it might be right here. . . .

Mr. Koontz first few weeks at school had involved very little details. Instead there were a lot of situations like this: a large blonde woman sits down in front of you and she has a daughter, they look nice enough, but you can’t remember the girl’s name, not even a detail like her name.

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(Painting: “The Fate of the Animals” by Franz Marc.)

 

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Diminutives

Pop Lit Fiction

(“Premonition” by Walter Nessler copyright Royal Air Force Museum.)

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Our month-long Hemingway celebration continues with a striking new story by Samuel Stevens, “Diminutives,” whose setting of Paris is a nod to Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation. But so is its style. Few writers understand what Ernest Hemingway was fully up to when he revolutionized writing. Stevens is one of them.

Note how Stevens’ story is like a Modernist painting– a collage of parts expressing the fragmentation of our time. As if helplessly riding a bus about to crash, we’re replaying– reliving– that broken insane world Hemingway experienced. Around us is a sense of foreboding. Imminence. Chaos.

Stevens’ story is simple but at the same time it’s a mix of impressions and ideas. A splash of confusion, or a slap in the face. The story is there in front of us, like a painting. Right there. It’s very short, but there’s enough in it to like or dislike. Or hate.

Provocative and topical.

But what do you think?

There were no subjects to write about any more, either in America or here; the world was too mixed up to really stop and look at it.