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 Nick Paumgarten is not like a piece by Dana Goodyear, and neither is like a piece by Ian Frazier. One could not mistake Finnegan for Friend, or Bilger for Lepore, or Collins for Khatchadourian. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

On the Horizon: John McPhee's "Draft No. 4"

On September 5, 2017, one of the most significant literary events of the year will occur – the publication of John McPhee’s Draft No. 4. I pre-ordered my copy months ago. I have a rough idea what it will contain: McPhee’s wonderful New Yorker series “The Writing Life,” a vivid, personal, practical account of how he composed some of his finest pieces. I devoured this series when it appeared in the magazine, 2011 – 2015. I look forward to revisiting it in hardcover.

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