Article written by miette

Miette has been podcasting the best of world literature's short fiction since March 2005, when she was just a pup.

8 Responses

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  1. Byshyp
    Byshyp January 23, 2006 at 2:27 am |

    I’ve been meaning to find your site for awhile and thank you for your wonderful voice and great story telling abilities. So here I am.

    I’ve been listening to your podcast for several months now and enjoy your literary taste. More than one of your readings I have listened to many times and this includes “A Poetics for Bullies.” Because of this particular story, I ran down to my local library and checked out a handful of Stanley Elkin’s works. I’m currently reading “a bad man.”

    Well, for what it’s worth, I wanted to express some gushing adoration for your efforts.

    Thank you!

    Your devoted listener,

    scott

  2. Heather
    Heather January 23, 2006 at 6:47 am |

    I happend to stumble across a link to your site and feel as if I am a kid let loose in a candy store. All these wonderful stories! I have only had the chance to listen to “A Poetics for Bullies” and am eager to be edified by them all. Thank you so much for all of the time and effort you put into this work. The results are astounding and much appreciated.
    Thanks!!

    Heather

  3. Heather
    Heather January 23, 2006 at 6:48 am |

    I happend to stumble across a link to your site and feel as if I am a kid let loose in a candy store. All these wonderful stories! I have only had the chance to listen to “A Poetics for Bullies” and am eager to be edified by them all. Thank you so much for all of the time and effort you put into this work. The results are astounding and much appreciated.
    Thanks!!

    Heather

  4. mtte
    mtte January 24, 2006 at 4:31 am |

    I sometimes muse on what I might do if I were a kid let loose in a candy store, after clearing out the Swedish Fish bins. Maybe I’d purge, then hit anything with toffee? Maybe I’d just go straight for it, and double up at the gymn instead (in the interest of keeping this podcast comparatively family-friendly, I would never condone purging). I can only say that I am HONESTLY SO GLAD that if you were a kid finding yourself in such a situation, you’d lose your fillings on Elkin (to whom I feel especially close). It’s more than the numbness of ego that’s being patted– my most sincere visceral reaction at knowing that this sends people to libraries… well, nothing short of love would describe it. So congratulations to you for stumbling on a new great writer! I understand I’m answering two people here, and probably confusing you both– I can’t wait until -you- listen to more, and -you- report back on A Bad Man.

    xo
    Mtte.

  5. Byshyp
    Byshyp January 27, 2006 at 9:38 pm |

    Varied interest and a busy lifestyle keep me from indulging in the time intensive act of reading as often as I would like, but I’ve managed to make my way through nearly the first hundred pages of A BAD MAN. It’s a sad show of effort after a couple of weeks and doesn’t bode well for my future literary consumption which is why you, mtte, have been such a wonderful find.

    The first page in A BAD MAN hooked me with this: “Its the jig,” Feldman explained. “Its up.” The prison then slowed it down because of a lousy suggestion by a friend years ago whose taste, up until that point, I trusted when he suggest I watch Shawshank Redemption. As a result, similarities between the two simply because they share a common setting taint my reading, but I think I’m getting over it. A BAD MAN is hardly a series of story telling devices designed to pull the reader along in a methodical way tugging at the fears and emotions but leaving the intellect hanging out to dry. What Elkin is asking me to think about I’m unclear on. Then again, the themes of the novel are just starting to manifest themselves, so I shouldn’t be making judgments yet.

    I’m not sure what I expect from Elkin. A POETICS FOR BULLIES set the bar high. I mean, come on, the scene where Push first meets the new kid. The rocks. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life. And then the end! The allegory fleshes out the nature of love and hate vividly and poses the question, which is stronger. Such writing is present in A BAD MAN, but I haven’t seen it be as poignant. Still, I like Elkin. I like his characters. I like his humor. It’s a novel not a short story and the payoff takes a little more to get to, so any serious reaction may be a month away, but I’ll let you know when I get there.

    Thanks again.

    scott

  6. Byshyp
    Byshyp March 8, 2006 at 4:35 pm |

    Sorry mtte, I finished probably nearly two weeks ago,”A Bad Man”, but have been too distracted by my meandering interest to follow up. Which also means my thoughts are stale regarding Elkin.

    I think he’s awesome though! It’s so interesting, the changes his character go through. How they start out apologically acknowledging their “deviance”, but as they progress through the story, become, uh what’s the word, affirmed in who they are, their deviance.

    I wish I could offer something more intelligent, but, well, that’s all I got.

    I will be reading more, that’s for sure.

    Thanks

  7. mtte
    mtte March 9, 2006 at 5:33 pm |

    I’m so glad you stuck it out– I meant to write to you or post a cheerleading prod on your site after your first post, because his is an aesthetic that you have to grow into somewhat, but I’m glad you saw it through on your own. Short fiction is arguably his strength, and this is evident when you try and tackle his novels– the peak-and-valley structure of his construction and style illustrate this. But, although not entirely cohesive, when he digs his heels into longer work, you see a much more complicated (and in a way, more true and raw) character arc (and in Elkin, A Bad Man definitely shows this off most effectively). I’ll have some other recommendations for you soon… I have a few ideas.

    And, glad you liked it, of course.

  8. David
    David September 17, 2007 at 10:53 am |

    I was searching for Elkin stuff – and arrived here. I loved the “Poetics…” reading.

    I read Elkin’s “The Dick Gibson Show” in 1972 – and it shaped the rest of my life (so far!). I went round the world for a year – and then worked as a musician in London for six years followed by 21 years as a broadcast journalist in Oslo, Norway. Quite some time ago, I wrote some nice things about Stanley – and his son read them – and emailed me to say thank you.

    For me – he’s the greatest of them all.

    Best, David

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