Author Archives: Brian Hurley

About Brian Hurley

Brian Hurley is Books Editor at The Rumpus, Curator of the Critical Hit Awards at Electric Literature’s blog The Outlet, and Co-Editor of Fiction Advocate.

This Poet Says Elton John Is a Church

In his first book of… not poetry, Michael Robbins, author of Alien vs. Predator and The Second Sex, makes an extended argument about the connections between poetry and pop music.

A pop song is a popular song, one that some ideal “everybody” knows or could know. Its form lends itself to communal participation. Or, stronger, it depends upon the possibility of communal participation for its full effect.

Of course, being a poet, he’s cynical as hell. He says poetry is nothing more than a “sad and angry consolation.” Continue reading

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Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patti Yumi Cottrell

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The plot of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell is easy to summarize. A woman learns that her only brother has committed suicide, so she returns home to figure out, detective-like, why he did it.

But that summary doesn’t even begin to encapsulate the trippy, engrossing sensation of reading this book. Cottrell’s narrator, Helen Moran, is one of the most paradoxical and unforgettable creations in recent literature—a clever observer of people who mangles every social interaction, a rigid follower of rules who casually gives drugs to children, an exuberantly verbal thinker who rarely speaks. Her uniquely warped point of view is the second mystery that this hilarious and devastating novel invites readers to unravel. Continue reading

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The 10 Best Books of 2016

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10 New Books You’ll Want to Give (and Get) This Christmas

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1. Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot

This big, beautiful, illustrated hardcover offers profiles and portraits of pioneering women in sports history. Based on the Instagram account @TheUnsungHeroes, Game Changers is a dramatic record of people who shattered their glass ceilings.

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2. Carry This Book by Abbi Jacobson

One of the stars of Broad City has a secret talent: drawing the imaginary contents of famous people’s personal bags. Ever wondered what Oprah carries in her purse? Abbi has some ideas. Continue reading

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THE FREE STUFF: Future Sex by Emily Witt

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Future Sex is a collection of Emily Witt’s groundbreaking essays about the different ways young people are having sex, right now, today. And all of you broke-ass perverts are lucky, because 4 of the 8 essays are available online for free.

Internet Dating was originally published as “Diary” in the London Review of Books.

Internet Porn was originally published as “What Do You Desire?” in n+1.

Live Webcams was originally published as “Are You Internet Sexual” in Matter.

Burning Man was originally published as “Diary” in the London Review of Books.

You might also like Emily Witt’s New York magazine article about men who give up masturbation.

But if you want to read “Orgasmic Meditation,” “Polyamorists,” “Birth Control and Reproduction,” or “Future Sex,” you’ll have to get the book.

Brian Hurley is an editor at Fiction Advocate and Books Editor at The Rumpus.

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WHAT TO SAY ABOUT Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

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Sooner or later, you’ll have to say something about Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett. This debut collection of linked stories from an English writer who lives in Ireland may be slim, but it’s packed with vivid imagery of a quiet life, and deep reflections from an unquiet mind. It’s excellent, it’s ravishing, it’ll win a ton of awards, it’ll show up on everyone’s Best of 2016 lists. So before everyone starts asking you about Pond, here are some handy talking points.

They’ll Say:

Pond is like a really intense diary with all the specific names and locations and backstory omitted. One of the best stories (“The Big Day”) takes place entirely within the narrator’s head while she sits alone, waiting for a party to start. It’s all about her inner thoughts.

You’ll Say:

Yes, but the book moves in both inward and outward directions. It can be incredibly claustrophobic—focused on one person’s whims and daily minutiae—and incredibly expansive—suggesting worlds of detail, meaning, and personality—at the same time.

They’ll Say: Continue reading

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