I picked up a copy of the latest issue of The Antioch Review (Winter 2012) last night and did so partially as it was the first time I'd seen an issue for sale in some time (at Barnes & Noble) and then additionally as it contains new fiction from Gordon Lish. His short story, "Gnat," starts as follows:
She said "Put it on. I want to see it on you," Or "see you in it." She perhaps said "in it," and not "on you," but in either event I complied, got into the shirt that I had purchased, what does one say, on the spot? By gum, yes, there had not been any of this frantic shopping around, that I can promise you, trying store after store, nor, when the saleslady had pointed it out to me, did I find myself the least uncertain, asking, as a person unsure of himself might, "Looks good, you bet--but what else do you want to show me? I mean, don't you think you should show me something apart from just this?"
Any time there is a new Lish work, you'll most likely find me picking the issue up, as it's always great reading through his sentences. This story was no different.
The issue is subtitled "Intimate Memoirs" and even the stories and poems that I've looked at so far have a memoirish feel to them.
The one essay I've read so far, "Reflections of a Book Reviewer," by Jeffrey Meyers was a fantastic read--he names names, going over a four decade long (so far) career as a book reviewer explaining both what he feels reviewers should do and shouldn't do, but maybe more interestingly getting into specifics of journals that killed reviews he'd written and why, good and bad editors to work with and why, ripping apart some reviews and books he felt were unworthy of the praise they'd received over the years and more. While there is more than a bit of a smartest guy in the room feel to the writing, Meyers definitely has me looking for some of his reviews online, as well as one or two of the biographies he's written.
So far the issue has started off well--but that's almost always the case when I buy a journal for specific reasons (in this case the Lish story). I'm looking forward to reading more from this issue over the next few days.