Introduction

What is The New Yorker? I know it’s a great magazine and that it’s a tremendous source of pleasure in my life. But what exactly is it? This blog’s premise is that The New Yorker is a work of art, as worthy of comment and analysis as, say, Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Each week I review one or more aspects of the magazine’s latest issue. I suppose it’s possible to describe and analyze an entire issue, but I prefer to keep my reviews brief, and so I usually focus on just one or two pieces, to explore in each the signature style of its author. A piece by Ben McGrath is not like a piece by Jill Lepore, and neither is like a piece by Ian Frazier. One could not mistake Finnegan for Goodyear, or Filkins for Khatchadourian, or Bilger for Paumgarten. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ian Frazier's "Hogs Wild"


This is just a quick note to say that my copy of Ian Frazier’s new collection, Hogs Wild, arrived yesterday from Indigo. I’d pre-ordered it several months ago. Perusing the Table of Contents, I see many old friends  (e.g., “Hungry Minds,” Back to the Harbor,” “Form and Fungus,” Hogs Wild,” “On Impact,” “The March of the Strandbeests,” “The Toll,” “Hidden City,” and “Blue Bloods”). These wonderful pieces afforded me immense pleasure when they originally appeared in The New Yorker. It’s great to see them preserved between hard covers. I look forward to revisiting them. Hogs Wild also contains some writings that are new to me (e.g., “The One That Got Away,” “Desert Hideaway,” The Unsettling Legacy of General Shrapnel). The book is a rich feast. It’s tempting to devour it in a day. But I’m going to try to pace myself, savoring each piece, posting my responses here. Hogs Wild's publication is, for me, a major literary event. I hope I can do it justice.  

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