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Tag Archives: The Paris Review

The Music of Narrative: Songs from great literary journalism

A story without sound lies too dead on the page. Imagine “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster,” by Jon Franklin, without the pop … pop … pop of the operating-room sensors. Or Tom Wolfe’s “The Girl of the Year” — the 1964 New York magazine classic on “it” girl Jane Holzer — without the manic rhythms: She is gorgeous [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 90: George Plimpton and Sidd Finch

Twenty-nine years ago today, Sports Illustrated ran George Plimpton’s “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch,” about a mysterious, unknown major league pitching recruit who threw a fastball at jet speed. Published on April Fools’ Day 1985, the piece carried the following deck: He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, [...]

Pinned: A boxer, a triple murder, an art mystery, a writing conference and how to get organized

Pinned this week for your storytelling pleasure: pieces on a jailhouse boxer, an old triple homicide in Texas, a billion dollars’ worth of recovered European art, a one-day writing conference and organizational tips. From Recommended Reading: The Paris Review’s Clifford Chase with a study in cadence. From “A Downward Glissando:” The name of the medication printed [...]

The big idea: How to find enterprising stories

Editor’s note: A great many Storyboard readers are journalism students, nonfiction writers in MFA programs, and beginning reporters and editors. The pieces in our Essays on Craft department cater to such readers but also to veterans in search of a refresher. You can find Michael Pollan writing about natural narratives; Laurie Hertzel on how to [...]

Top 10 Top 10 Lists — storytelling edition

Because why not a list of lists? Ten* worth the storyteller’s time: 1) “130 years of must-read stories for digital journalists: five lessons from 1851-1981,” by Abraham Hyatt, editor of the data-driven investigative project Oakland Police Beat. His top three (we agree, so much, with Ben Hecht’s “The Pig”): 1: You can report on technology [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 57: Joan Didion on dreamers gone astray

In 1977, Joan Didion told The Paris Review that she always kept in mind one line of poetry, from T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”: “at the still point of the turning world.” I don’t know if Didion had the still point in mind when she wrote “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” her classic account of adultery [...]

What we’re reading: underground art, sleepy shrinks and killings by a CIA contractor in Pakistan

This week’s installment is a grab bag, offering both comedy (a courtroom debate over what exactly a copying machine is) and tragedy (the tsunami in Japan). These stories’ styles also vary wildly, ranging from a non-narrative yet suspenseful investigation into the killing of two Pakistani men by a CIA contractor to an unsettlingly intimate encounter [...]

Tracy Kidder in conversation with Darcy Frey, part 1: “Anyone who writes for a living and doesn’t admit to being very lucky is almost certainly insane”

Last week, veteran writer Tracy Kidder offered his reflections on narrative nonfiction a public conversation with current Nieman Fellow Darcy Frey. Part of the Harvard Writers at Work series, the talk took place in a packed campus auditorium and was co-sponsored by the university’s Shorenstein Center, where Kidder is a fellow this fall. Winner of [...]