The Financial Times reviews Junot Diaz‘s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, now out in the U.K.
At yesterday’s “A World of Fiction Writing” conference at American University, Josh Emmons participated in a panel titled “Fiction Under Forty,” and spoke a little about how young writers are discouraged from shopping short-story collections; first novels don’t sell too well, but debut story collections sell worse. Maybe this doesn’t apply to 53-year-old authors of debut story collections: The Wall Street Journal has a large takeout on Donald Ray Pollock, a longtime paper-mill worker whose first collection of short stories, Knockemstiff, comes out next month. (Sorry, that’s connected short stories. Is this a new thing, a workaround for first-timers to get around the marketing folks who complain that the first book is “just” a book of short stories? I’m sure the “connected story collection” has always been with us, but at this early hour I can’t recall a single one.) One of his stories is available for free; congratulations to Pollock for getting the phrase “hotter than a fat lady’s box” into a major American newspaper, online or otherwise.