Alexander Chee Archive

This is Normal: Reading Evil in the Everyday

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On Twitter, people keep saying this “isn’t normal.” In this story, the villain is an exception to the rule of normalcy. Maybe, I thought, that story is easier to tell than the real one.

The Queen of the Night and Alejo Carpentier’s French Accent

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In the first chapter of Alexander Chee’s long-awaited new novel The Queen of the Night, the opera-singer protagonist surprises party-goers at a Paris ball by bursting into an aria from Gounod’s Faust. The scene has a scandalous, erotic backstory (too complicated to recount here, but it involves two brothers

Round-Down: On Women Writers And the Fallout from ‘Confession’ in the Digital Age

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Social media is in the spotlight—or crosshairs, as it may be–in the literary landscape this week. Several articles and author interviews have touched upon both the benefits and the tremendous costs known to an author maintaining their online presence, none of them coming to a firm conclusion about whether it’s better to be

Round-Down: Catapult Launches Onto the Literary Scene

Elizabeth Koch recently conceived of a promising new literary venture, Catapult, that launched yesterday. Jennifer Kovitz, the publisher’s publicity and marketing director, said that “Catapult is dedicated to spotlighting extraordinary narratives (as fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and graphic/illustrated projects) and we intend for Catapult to be an inclusive community for writers at

Dancing About Architecture

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“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” said Elvis Costello once, probably quoting someone else. And yet, and yet… It is apparently a strong urge to write about (or somehow with) music. The list of creative writing that involves music in some way is long, and grows longer every

On Writing “Victoria Falls Hotel,” by Reese Okyong Kwon

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Reese Okyong Kwon’s story, “Victoria Falls Hotel,” appears in our Winter 2012/13 issue, edited by Ladette Randolph and John Skoyles. I first came across a mention of the Korean phenomenon of fake funerals on Alexander Chee’s excellent blog, Koreanish. The idea stayed with me, and I started to wonder