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Friday, December 9, 2016

The Queen And I, by Tanya Gold, Harper's Magazine

The awful seduction of the British monarchy.

Found: 148 Diaries. But Who Wrote Them?, by James Parker, New York Times

So here we have something rather cosmic: Into the hands of witty Alexander Masters, ardent celebrant of the hidden and the rejected, falls this diary dump, this exiled word-hoard, this abandoned trove of interiority. Homeless writing, in the realest sense. Can he face it? Can he take it on? He can. Appointing himself reader for a text that was never meant to be read, Masters digs in, begins his exegesis, his first discovery being that the diaries are anonymous: “A person can write five million words about itself, and forget to tell you its name. Or its sex.” Thus an element of mystery enters the story, and although Masters is highly ambivalent about the need to solve it — isn’t anonymity more interesting? — he will enlist a graphologist, a private investigator and several academics in a quest to find the identity of the author.

Review: Where We Land By Daryl Farmer, by Evan Nicole Brown, Ploughshares

Alaska, our largest yet least densely populated state, at times may conjure thoughts of bleak landscapes, harsh temperatures, and the type of static isolation that doesn’t quite lend itself to human connection. In (Where We Land*, Daryl Farmer turns the distant and seemingly unknowable Alaskan landscape familiar, using the daily lives of his characters as nuanced examples of the human condition. This short story collection is at once deeply introspective, an honest illustration of the inward journey and the mania that can sometimes result, but it also situates Farmer as a careful observer of the subtle differences in people that can make the world, or even just a town, a more vibrant place.