Monday, October 18, 2010

Do not miss

Miriam Burstein’s provocative reconsideration of Stanley Crawford’s brilliant 1978 novel Some Instructions to my Wife Concerning the Upkeep of the House and Marriage, and to my Son and Daughter, Concerning the Conduct of their Childhood. My only objection: Burstein never firmly answers the question of what, exactly, Crawford is parodying. She raises some fascinating possibilities, however, without fully exploring them.

Patrick Kurp’s meditation on a poem by the matchless Helen Pinkerton, a post written on the occasion of her teacher Yvor Winters’s one hundred and tenth birthday. My only objection: Kurp has been corresponding directly with Pinkerton, which makes me jealous.

Jonathan Franzen’s favorite fiction, which Andrew Seal conveniently lists without comment. My objection: the most interesting titles are the least known (Tom Drury’s End of Vandalism, James Purdy’s Eustace Chisholm and the Works, George Saunders’s In Persuasion Nation), and it would have been welcome to hear a little more about them. Also: why four books by Jane Smiley are on the list.