Author Archive

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Mary Robison and Amy Hempel

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Examining Mary Robison’s “Widower” and Amy Hempel’s “Today Will Be a Quiet Day” will consider the ways in which Hempel responded to Robison’s story and how a story’s meaning shifts when a connection is known.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: John Cheever and Raymond Carver

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In 1983, Raymond Carver included “The Train” in his collection Cathedral; he dedicated the story to John Cheever. and from the first words of the story, where one of the characters from a Cheever story is named, we see that Carver’s story will be responding to Cheever’s classic tale.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Flannery O’Connor and Alice Munro

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Munro has spoken about her debt to American writers from the South, including O’Connor, and we can clearly see how “Save the Reaper” is responding to O’Connor’s story by touching on similar themes and even moments, and yet spinning off from the original in true Munro fashion.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Paley and Hempel

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Grace Paley’s work has influenced many writers, both her contemporaries and those who followed. Amy Hempel has spoken often about Paley’s imprint on her work. For Hempel’s story “Today Will Be a Quiet Day,” Hempel has identified one Paley story as being particularly important.

Review: DOG YEARS by Melissa Yancy

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Melissa Yancy’s debut story collection, Dog Years, is an exploration into the intersection between our public and private selves. Each of the nine stories follows a central protagonist who is navigating the world, often uneasily and unsuccessfully, trying hard to figure out how to create a life with fewer

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Nunez, Rushdie, and Seidlinger

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The writers discussed the many ways in which fiction can respond to fiction. Of particular note was the impetus for using a particular source text—what inspired the response—and the extent to which a retelling can or should stand on its own without an intimate knowledge of the original.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Jamaica Kincaid and John Keene (and Edgar Degas)

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Jamaica Kincaid's classic story "Girl," first published in the New Yorker in 1978, is a small gem, consisting of less than 700 perfectly chosen words. We can see the echoes of Kincaid in John Keene's story "Acrobatique" even though the story was not written intentionally to respond.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Edith Wharton and Alice Elliott Dark

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“Roman Fever,” published by Edith Wharton in 1934 just three years before her death, is one of her short story masterpieces, and it is a story that has spawned many responses, including a modernized version by Alice Elliott Dark entitled “The Secret Spot.”

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Flannery O’Connor and Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen often tells stories in his songs which investigate the human condition, the lyrics following a narrative arc with a clear beginning, middle and end. It is therefore not surprising that fiction is one of the places where he finds inspiration.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Raymond Carver and Jonathan Durbin

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Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” is the classic titular story in his collection published in 1981. The original story, entitled “Beginners” was famously edited by Gordon Lish, and it is longer, containing more hope and introspection.