Longreads

Brittany Allen | Longreads | July 2018 | 7 minutes (1,809 words)

Different writers call for different verbs. With Mary Karr, I go galloping. E.M. Forster wants to waltz. I hopscotch with George Saunders and craft, as in beaded amulets, with Helen Oyeyemi. Elena Ferrante is usually trying to slap me, and Denis Johnson is plummeting: out of windows, out of planes. Reading Helen DeWitt is puzzling, but not the kind of puzzling that will eventually resolve and make some pretty picture on a box.

There is the urge to go spelunking through her books, to descend into the mad caves and walk the corridors and labyrinthine tunnels, in search of meaning (or…treasure? Uh-oh, here goes the metaphor). But I discovered — about five stories in to DeWitt’s bursting, bizarre new story collection, Some Trick (New Directions) that the most pleasurable way to be with her fiction calls for…

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