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The Paris Review - Summer 2005

  • Image: Image
  • Issue Number: Volume 47 Number 174
  • Published Date: Summer 2005
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

In its 1953 inaugural issue, William Styron, best known for his novel Sophie’s Choice, wrote, “I think The Paris Review should welcome these people into its pages: the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axe-grinders. So long as they're good.” And they are good. This issue finds Liao Yiwu a seeming star, as both interviewer and subject, covering an alarming 35 pages, or about 18% of the issue’s 192 pages. Yiwu’s pieces range from encounters with a professional mourner, an independent public toilet manager, and a human trafficker, with China serving as each interviews’ backdrop. Yiwu’s contender is Damon Galgut’s short story “The Follower,” at 44 pages (24%)—“Look for what. For maps with more detail.” Whether The Paris Review is playing favorites or just showcasing the talent they’re exposed to—both rightly, I might add—is unclear. What is clear, however, is the quality of writing between covers, the alarming variety, and its authors’ attentiveness to those aspects of ourselves which make us most human. Philip Gourevitch, author of 1999’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, took over the role as editor of The Paris Review, after one of the founders and premier editor George Plimpton’s death in 2003, and Brigid Hughes’s brief one-year editorial stint in 2004. Other notable features are an interview with Salmun Rushdie, a photo essay describing 1994 cease-fire Belfast, a fistful of poems by Dan Chiasson, and a curio wherein some of Elizabeth Bishop’s early and unpublished poems are placed en face of her original notebook entries. It isn’t too often that I pick up a relatively mainstream journal and am instantly and repeatedly attracted to it. This is one of those times. [The Paris Review, 62 White Street, New York, NY 10013. E-mail: . Single issue $12.] Erin M. Bertram

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Review Posted on December 31, 2005

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