Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Up-and-comers, JR, KJP

I've been overwhelmed all day with reviewing chores, which kept me from this (dismayingly addictive) blog. But I did want to respond to a comment by Dan Wickett, who asked who I would nominate as my top five up-and-coming fiction writers. The first name that sprang to mind was Tom Bissell, since he's already published two fiendishly accomplished books: Chasing the Sea and God Lives in St. Petersburg. After that, in no particular order, I might add Adrienne Miller, Elizabeth McKenzie, Dean Bakopoulos, and Rattawut Lapcharoensap (although mainly on the strength of the title story in Sightseeing). If we use the Torday test, of course, we could throw in Cynthia Ozick, always a favorite of mine.

On other fronts: my eyes teared up as I read Judith Regan's tender encomium to her new home. "The pulse of New York is driven by money," we're told, whereas Los Angeles resembles one big group hug--its pulse sounds like "I Just Called To Say I Love You." Tell that to Bruce Wagner, or to Nathanael West. In any case, the departure of this relentless schlock peddler has put a strange spring in my step.

Finally: I've been wearing out my copy of Kelly Joe Phelps's Tap the Red Cane Whirlwind. I was one of those fans who called for a national day of mourning when the lap-slide wizard retired his steel bar and went on his fingerpicking way. But this live recording--mostly Phelps's own compositions, along with superb, smoky covers of Skip James ("Hard Time Killing Floor Blues") and Rev. Gary Davis ("I Am the Light of this World")--is a beauty.

How the Hell did I forget Bissell? I just gave his story collection Five stars and raved about it like I had foam at the mouth.

Not sure who I'd drop from my list though to add him - Rattawut was another just off of my list and Dean was in my five.


I agree about Ozick as it appears that (forget Torday) the benign indifference of her past publisher left her mightily unknown.

As for Dan's quandry, just desserts for his being so specific—in the future he'll learn to say, "The Best 5 or 6 something or others" or "The Top 10 or 11 or 12
this or thats:"
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?