The Paris Review Salon
|Colum McCann is the Dublin-born author of two collections of short
stories and four novels, including "This Side of Brightness,""Dancer"
and “Zoli,” all of which were international best-sellers. |
His newest novel Let the Great World Spin is scheduled for release in the U.S on June 23rd, 2009. An extract was published in the Paris Review in fall 2008. The novel begins in August 1974 as a tightrope walker makes his way through the dawn light across the World Trade Center towers, stunning thousands of watchers below. Using the true story of Philippe Petit as a pull-through metaphor, McCann crafts a portrait of the city and a people. There’s Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, who struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn the sons who died in Vietnam – they soon discover how much divides them even in their grief. Further uptown, Tillie, a 38-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenaged daughter, determined not only to take care of her “babies” but to prove her own worth.
Padgett Powell's Edisto is currently being reissued by FSG, and his new book, The Interrogative Mood, is forthcoming from Ecco.
Padgett Powell has written some of the most lyrical and hilarious stories to emerge from the Southern literary tradition, and his characters are some of its rowdiest and most unforgettable. Powell embraces the stereotypical pickup trucks, cheap booze, and Piggly Wigglys that crowd the genre with an irascible, pessimist’s wit, proving what a wonderful and silly thing it is to be Southern, and, ultimately, human. In a story titled “Typical,” his character John Payne examines the circumstances that led him to realize he is “a piece of shit.” In another, “Scarliotti and the Sinkhole,” a brain-damaged man in a trailer perched atop a sinkhole watches The Andy Griffith Show, avoids his medication, and wonders what life will be like when his trailer finally goes underground (“The sinkhole was the kind of thing he realized that other people had when they had Jesus. He didn’t need Jesus. He had a hole, and it was a purer thing than a man”).
A student of Donald Barthelme, Powell first rose to national attention with his debut novel, Edisto (1984), the story of ten-year-old Simons Manigault and his wild adolescence in coastal South Carolina. He has written three novels in addition to Edisto—A Woman Named Drown, Mrs. Hollingsworth’s Men, Edisto Revisited—as well as two collections of short fiction, Typical and Aliens of Affection. (From The Believer, September 2006)