The Importance of Art in Literature, in Review

Months before I opened Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (2001), I admired Lynn Buckley’s cover design. On the lower third of the cover – beneath the author’s name in bold, white caps and the title’s textured, orange lettering – a Rockwell inspired scene depicts two boys and the lower half of a woman, whose red nailed … Continue reading The Importance of Art in Literature, in Review

A Moment of Reflection, with David Foster Wallace

Four of us sit on the back stoop of our cabin, at the precipice between forest and not, with the dim glow of the porch light illuminating only half faces. David Foster Wallace’s first novel, The Broom of the System, lays open in front of us. The cover has been stripped from its spine—exchanged between … Continue reading A Moment of Reflection, with David Foster Wallace

The Purity of Imperfection

On a humid September evening, in the astonishingly not-well-air-conditioned children’s section of a cozy San Francisco bookstore, I sat beside my girlfriend in a crowd of unabashedly pretentious literary folk, eagerly awaiting the arrival of my favorite author, Jonathan Franzen, who was to read from his new novel, Purity. But here’s the thing: As he … Continue reading The Purity of Imperfection