Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction

By Dinah Lenney

The better of brief literary memoirs, essays, and reflections, a lot of which have been written expressly for this assortment. additionally available

The overdue Judith Kitchen, editor of the perennially well known anthologies Short Takes, In Short, and In Brief, was once tremendously influential in spotting and constructing flash inventive nonfiction as a kind in its personal correct. In Brief Encounters, she and writer/editor/actor Dinah Lenney extend this vivid box with approximately 80 new decisions: shorts―as those sharply centred items have emerge as recognized― representing a powerful diversity of voices, views, sensibilities, and varieties. Brief Encounters good points the paintings of the rising and the established―including Stuart Dybek, Roxanne homosexual, Eduardo Galeano, Leslie Jamison, and Julian Barnes―arranged by means of subject to discover the human situation in methods intimate, idiosyncratic, humorous, unhappy, provocative, lyrical, unflinching. From the rant to the rave, the meditation to the polemic, the confession to the valediction, this selection of shorts―this party of actual and shiny prose―will amplify your global.

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It used to be even, deep. occasionally every thing appeared hopelessly far-off to me, the space uncrossable. I lay conscious for hours, hearing her, imagining myself cocoon-wrapped and ready, imagined we all with saw-like ridges outfitted into our heads. Or no longer ready, yet break free sooner than our time, helpless within the outdoors. How does someone ever comprehend precisely what’s too quickly or too overdue, what is going to wither within the interminable darkish or gasp and shrivel within the too-early mild? Or go beyond its starting, develop into appealing, fly for it slow? Phillip Lopate Max and Minna MY FIRST aircraft flight used to be a transcontinental one, from big apple to la. i used to be seventeen, flying with my twenty-year-old brother Lenny to spend the summer season with our purple family members, Uncle Max and Aunt Minna. The flight have been jammed to means, with screaming infants, as unglamorous as airline shuttle may later sometimes develop into, although no less than they served us nutrients. We appeared down with wonderment on the reddish Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon (“off for your right”). through the descent, I skilled piercing ache, a primary indication that i used to be a kind of whose ears wouldn't take kindly to steep landings. That summer season of 1962, I had accomplished my sophomore yr at Columbia, whereas Lenny, having dropped out of college, was once at free ends. My mom determined to ship us away to her older brother Max. It used to be now not the 1st time she had performed this, having packed Lenny off whilst he used to be twelve to her brother George’s in Brookline, Massachusetts, then despatched me to that Boston suburb 3 summers after. because the terrible relation in her huge relations, a ghetto-dweller in addition, she felt entitled to impose her spawn on her older siblings’ kindness. Lenny and that i have been chuffed to be gotten off her arms, and the total concept of California was once intensely romantic to us; from our provincial New Yorker point of view, it used to be the Antipodes. We had an afternoon or to discover l. a. on our personal, earlier than taking the bus to Auberry, California, the place Max and Minna lived. I take note our strolling round in a daze less than the new sunlight, attempting to sightsee landmarks just like the Brown Derby eating place, the Hollywood sidewalk of stars and Grauman’s chinese language Theatre, and feeling drained, grouchy, and agoraphobic. i will nonetheless summon up the feeling of that pounding sinus headache among the eyebrows that resulted from publicity to a obtrusive solar and too little shadow from low-slung structures. i used to be learning a vital a part of my identification, the Pedestrian, and l. a. proved too spread-out to enquire simply taking walks. Complicating the temper was once that Lenny and that i have been stressful one another. He stored attempting to assert his seniority, planning for the day or determining even if to show left or correct, and that i saved wondering them. I were in awe of his three-years-ahead-of-me creative wisdom and worldly event, yet now i wished to shape my very own self sufficient judgments; and having gotten into an Ivy League institution whereas he used to be a faculty dropout made me suppose stronger, if arrogant.

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