Grading The Atlantic Fiction Supplement

What an exciting headline! Below you will find just what the headline states, and knowing my biases (I prefer the factual stuff), you can judge whether you’d like to buy it, and what you’d like to read. We’ll grade from one to ten:

Lorelai, by Jerome Charyn – Mysterious, surprising, disappointing. 6

A Simple Case, by E.C. Osondu – Nigerian brothels and prisons. Exciting, but not as exciting as it sounds. 7

Hopefulness, by Ryan Mecklenburg – Devastating, considering it centers on a man’s devotion to his Neighborhood Watch. That compliment was too back-handed. This is good! Bonus points for pinewood derby scene. 9

Bone Hinge, by Katie Williams – Creative premise, wonderfully executed. Haunting. 10

The Silence, by T.C. Boyle – Has a subhead called “flypaper.” Is about a silent retreat. 3

Visiting, by Stuart Nadler -Builds great tension, then cops out. 5

The Landscape of Pleasure, by Amanda Briggs – I feel asleep. N/A

Enjoy! Also, there is an interview with Paul Theroux on “Fiction in the Age of E-Books” which would earn a grade of “P” for “Pointless,” because when has anybody – no offense to Mr. Theroux – said anything remotely insightful about the future of writing. I did rather like this exchange:

The Atlantic: How do you reconcile your misanthropy with your politeness?

Theroux: I am probably a crank, as most writers are. But far from being a misanthrope, I hold the view that you get through life best by understanding that most people have it much worse than you do – really difficult lives, almost unimaginable hardship. So I grin like a dog and wander aimlessly and am grateful for my life.

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