First in a new semiannual series from critic, editor, and author Freeman (Tales of Two Cities, 2014; How to Read a Novelist, 2013).
Freeman’s writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. As the editor of Granta, he worked with writers like Jeanette Winterson, Kenzaburo Oe, and George Saunders. It can safely be said that Freeman is a guide whom a savvy subset of passionate readers trust. His plan for this new project is simple: twice a year, he’ll present “a collection of writing grouped loosely around a theme.” This first installment of poems, stories, and narrative nonfiction does not disappoint. There’s excellent work by literary luminaries and popular favorites—Lydia Davis and Haruki Murakami, Louise Erdrich and Dave Eggers—as well as work from writers who will be new to many. The geographic range represented here is impressive, with authors from such far-flung locales as Iceland, Sudan, and the West Bank. Freeman’s first theme is “arrival,” and part of the pleasure of exploring this volume is discovering the various ways in which contributors interpret the concept. David Mitchell describes an encounter with one of Hiroshima’s ghosts. Garnette Cadogan offers a quietly devastating meditation on wandering the streets of Kingston as a boy and the impossibility of being a black flâneur in America, where the perception that he’s a threat exposes him to real danger every time he steps outside. In Helen Simpson’s “ARIZONA,” an acupuncturist and an academic imagine life beyond menopause. And, in one of the most satisfying entries in this collection, Laura van den Berg tells the story of a woman who becomes unmoored—wonderfully so—when her husband leaves her to sail around the world.
A diverse and diverting anthology for fans of short fiction, verse, and long-form essays.