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March 14, 2007



Ooooh, this oughta be good. Can't wait for the next episode.


I've been waiting for something like this to surface. I can remember that even back to 2005 they didn't seem as hostile as they do now. Thanks for posting this (impending) series.


Oh man. Talk about keeping us coming back. :)


you should start an n+1 email posting contest



Keith Gessen

For the record, that email was written after Mark emailed to request Issue 1, which we sent despite never having heard of him. It seemed like the polite thing to do.

He never did write us up.


Quite true - and I missed including your first reply, that TEV looked quite good. I'll dig that one up and throw it in. And I only write up a fraction of what I receive. Unlike n+1, it's just me here.

As I noted at The Millions, for a grou of guys who disdain litblogs, you seem unable to resist following every word about yourselves.

And - ouch - you'd never heard of me. That's cutting, Keith. I am chastened.


this is strange


I find this squabbling uninteresting.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


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    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
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