I got mad at that animated gif being at the top of my page, so here’s a slightly out-of-focus photo of The Paris Review, issue #141, which includes a story by Chris Adrian, “You Can Have It.”
The first paragraph:

In fact there were two boys born that night. Jesus was first, long awaited, expected. His twin brother was a surprise. The angels ignored him. His mother was disconcerted by this squalling, irascible, utterly normal newborn who cried out for her breast while his brother lay, the sum of all peace, in the makeshift crib. There was no aureole of light about the second child’s face; no star shining down specifically on his soft pink head. The animals gave him a first look, but not a second. It was his brother to whom they bowed down, the sheep and the lambs and the donkeys and the cows.

Chris Adrian > most things.

I got mad at that animated gif being at the top of my page, so here’s a slightly out-of-focus photo of The Paris Review, issue #141, which includes a story by Chris Adrian, “You Can Have It.”

The first paragraph:

In fact there were two boys born that night. Jesus was first, long awaited, expected. His twin brother was a surprise. The angels ignored him. His mother was disconcerted by this squalling, irascible, utterly normal newborn who cried out for her breast while his brother lay, the sum of all peace, in the makeshift crib. There was no aureole of light about the second child’s face; no star shining down specifically on his soft pink head. The animals gave him a first look, but not a second. It was his brother to whom they bowed down, the sheep and the lambs and the donkeys and the cows.

Chris Adrian > most things.

English words Nabokov found difficult, as copied down by Lydia Davis from his edition of Madame Bovary

  • prívet
  • clématis
  • bígoted
  • pólypany
  • múltiple
  • cátechism
  • sólace
  • péctoral
  • Botocúdos
  • málleable
  • nastúrtium

The diacritical marks are his, made in case he ever had to pronounce these words in front of his students.

Davis’s essay in the new Paris Review, on translating Madame Bovary, is great. I read it on the train ride down to Brooklyn this morning. Right around the part where she is discussing the idea of equivalency in translation, a woman seated a few feet away offered me a Ritz cracker; she stared at me reading for the rest of the ride, after I declined. 

This was fine though. I had thoughtful Davis to distract me.

It was that comma that said everything to me.

Every once in a while, not very often, I fall in love with my own punctuation. When I’m making comments on a student manuscript, maybe, I’ll come up with a brilliant, brilliant piece of punctuation. Then I say, “Do you get it?” And they’re so polite, they say, “Yes, you’ve inserted an asterisk.” “No no, but that’s everything, suddenly the whole cosmos opens up around it.” “Yes, Professor Beattie.”

just now getting around to Ann Beattie’s interview in The Paris Review's Spring 2011 issue.

I am a sucker for punctuation.