Review | The Paris Review 220 | Spring 2017

As I noted in a previous post, when I subscribed to the NYRB Book Club it came with a free subscription to The Paris ReviewThough I’ve read stories from this rag in the past, I’ve never sat down and read an entire issue from soup to nuts. I was pleasantly surprised by the content. You can read my past reviews of The Paris Review here.

Paris Review 220 Spring 2017For the most part, I really loved this month – especially the interviews – though I was disappointed in the diversity, which is outlined below. I also didn’t like the 160+ page photo story thing by Jean-Rene Etienne and Lola Raban-Oliva, and it made up a large chunk of this issue.

However, the interview with Walter Mosley was holy cats out of this universe awesome. He’s so funny and wise and takes so much time to warm up and be a good interviewee and I just love him. If you’ve never heard of him / read him, I highly recommend you just give his interview a read. You can read an excerpt here.

There was also a short story by Adam O’Fallon Price, A Natural Man, that I loved so much I made Sam read it and he doesn’t give two shakes of a lamb’s face about short fiction. It was just heartbreaking and sad and funny and all those unlikely combinations that I want my short fiction to be.

I’ll give you a C+ this month, Paris Review, in part because your diversity was not acceptable and in part because you spent 160+ pages of a ~280 page magazine on one single thing. Even if I’d loved it, devoting so much of a single issue to one piece would have made me shake my head.

Fiction:  2/5 written by women; 1/5 written by authors of color.

Interviews: 2/2 of the people interviewed were people of color; 0/2 were women.

Poetry: 1/6 of the poets were people of color; 3/6 were women.


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