Call it phileo, call it friendship, call it brotherly love—any way you slice it, I’m a sucker for a good bromance. After my most recent post (which dipped a toe into the treacherous territory of love triangles), I started thinking about the other kinds of love available for us writers to explore, whether it be familial or friendly. Too many writers rely on tired love triangles for their work’s sole dramatic emphasis. But behind every good romance lurks an even better bromance, and if we play it right, they can provide all the necessary elements of a good story: drama, conflict, climax, and sometimes even a happy ending.
Allow me to take you on a tour through the countryside of manly love, taking note of the important thematic underpinnings along the way. In other words, it’s about to get bromantic.
The Books We Teach series will feature primary, secondary, and post-secondary educators and their thoughts about literature in the face of an evolving classroom. Posts will highlight literary innovations in teaching, contemporary literature’s place in pedagogy, and the books that writers teach. In the spirit of educational dynamism, we encourage readers to contribute their thoughts in the comments section.
Susan Daitch is the author of one story collection and three novels—most recently, the much lauded Paper Conspiracies (City Lights, 2011). Her work has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, Conjunctions, Ploughshares, The Brooklyn Rail, and McSweeney’s, among others, and has been anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Fiction. Recently it was also featured in The Review of Contemporary Fiction. Susan has taught writing at Columbia University, Barnard College, and The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She now teaches at Hunter College.
Here, Susan chats with me about advice she has for young writers, the differences between teaching undergraduate and graduate students, and a few works that she turns to as a teacher, time and time again.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2012
What: a book about books
And: their simultaneous demise and triumph
And, obviously: immortality
Who: Clay Jannon, night shift clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
And: his quest to understand Mr. Penumbra’s bizarre and cultish dealings
And: his desire to impress his love interest Kat, an ambitious data visualization specialist at Google