The place where we are joined is a secret place for Hattie and me, especially since everyone always wants to look at it—a bone hinge covered in smooth skin, our spines locked together at the base. Lately, though, Hattie hates our hinge. She has fallen in love with Matthew, and he has proposed to her.
Paiko had been waiting for his girlfriend to have sex with her last client when the police raided the brothel. “You will soon be released,” the Sergeant had kept telling him. So why was he now standing before the President and Commander in Chief of the Jungle Republic, the kangaroo court in Area F, which had “the worst torture chamber in the whole of this country”? And could the power of his storytelling save him?
He had become used to the way Marc turned questions around. His son was like Superman in that way, catching bullets in his hand and redirecting them. His own father had never answered his questions. He was not sure which was worse, to be mocked or to be ignored.
I’d become obsessed with my Neighborhood Watch duties, and my wife had taken up with Bob Martin. What bothers me is not the thought of Bob kissing my wife’s neck, or the thought of Bob putting my kids on his shoulders somewhere in Missouri, or that the Martin place has gone to hell under my watch. What bothers me, and repeatedly plays over in my mind, is the morning my wife left.
Howell was never caught. He lent a certain grace to his grift, even value to whatever he grabbed. The widows never felt cheated. They remembered the dark-haired stranger who drifted into their lives and made love to them like some Manhattan sheik. But Howell had little to do with Manhattan. He was from the Bronx. And because of his own odd chivalry, that ceiling he put on whatever he stole, Howell never grew rich.
The man next to my father at the bar winked shyly at me. I had seen this man before. His name was Russell. He wasn’t a member of our club, but he and my father were friendly. He was a former Army officer, and he restored classic cars. “He’s unstoppable,” my father often said. “That man’s unstoppable.”
For better or for worse, the age of the e-book is upon us. Analysts estimate Americans will buy on the order of 6 million e-readers this year—and by 2014, an estimated 32 million people will own one. What does the proliferation of Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and other e-readers portend for the publishing industry? What does the e-reader mean for writers, for storytelling, for the place of fiction in the cultural landscape? We put these and other questions to Paul Theroux, who published his first Atlantic short story, “Two in the Bush,” in 1968 and his eighth, “Siamese Nights,” this past February, as part of The Atlantic’s Fiction for Kindle project. (These questions will also be the focus of a panel discussion featuring Theroux, Richard Bausch, and other writers at the Luminato festival in Toronto, on June 19.)
In 2008 Joyce Carol Oates lost the husband—Raymond Smith—to whom she’d been married for 48 years. Her recollections of those harrowing early days of widowhood provide a glimpse of Oates as a teacher of writers and as caretaker of the literary magazine she and her husband kept in print for so long.
The case against writing manuals
A guide to spring and summer releases
Mrs. Bridge is an American masterpiece of prewar repression and postwar realism.
A grand history and an elegiac new film explore Britain’s recent, and irrecoverable, past.
Bill Simmons has set a new and unbeatable standard by writing like a fan—just far better.
James Agee’s Depression classic still stings the family of its subjects.
Drug-addicted healers are elevating hospital drama to metaphysical art.
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is a service to the history it depicts, and puts the author in the very first rank of historical novelists.
Henry de Montherlant’s work displays the charms of a black-hearted misogynist.
A Hollywood legend’s vivid and honest portrait of the studio era
MSNBC’s Lockup documentary series, about life behind bars, is exploitative and debasing, and as poignant a show as can be found on TV.
Why American rodeos are taking on a Latin flair