Articles by Spencer Lenfield
A light mantle of frost settles over the crowded events of Jumpha Lahiri’s new novel, which is “about” loss in the way that Anna Karenina is “about” love
Two thousand years ago, a bustling seaside town on the Naples coast was engulfed in a sudden, unthinkable catastrophe: the eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii in hot ash and froze it in death for two millennia. Can any museum exhibit capture the irresistible fascination of such a stark human drama?
Richard Ford likes complexity, and he filled his novel, The Sportswriter, with sonnet-like weights and counterweights of tangled and gorgeous intricacy. As Spencer Lenfield’s reading demonstrates, single sentences can contain worlds.
He may not have anything new to tell us today, but as Spencer Lenfield demonstrates, Gilbert Highet’s friendly, engaging pedagogy is still rare enough to keep him relevant.
When the Paris Review, long regarded as a literary standard-bearer, publishes a volume on the art of the short story, it flushes a flurry of conversations into the open: what is a short story? What constitutes an anthology-worthy example? What’s the audience for this kind of thing? And: can these stories answer such questions?