Issue #56: Summer Reading

Rob Spillman

The best writers not only create worlds beyond our imagination but also lead us into places we’d never dare venture alone. Over their long careers, Stephen King and Margaret Atwood have continually surprised us with their dark worlds. In his new short story “Afterlife,” King transports us into the mind of a man at the white-light moment of his death. And Atwood, master of speculative fiction and a fervent conservationist, talks about dystopian societies and vanishing species with Tin House editor-at-large Elissa Schappell. Critic Parul Sehgal explores issues of race, class, and gender politics, as well as the significance of African and African American women’s hair, in her interview with Orange Prize–winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

But discovery isn’t always about darkness, especially in the summer, when thoughts turn to sun and vacation. In this issue, poet Tom Sleigh, who has seven collections of poetry and numerous awards to his credit, continues to burn bright with two new poems; Katie Arnold-Ratliff writes about eating her way through Disneyland; and Jennifer Gilmore chronicles her attempt to make a meal with her Greek mother-in-law on the island of Naxos.

For us, it is always exciting to publish our heroes, but it is equally invigorating to discover new heroes who take us to new worlds. We were so excited when we first read Jodi Angel’s haunting stories about rural, wrong-side-of-the-track teens that next month we’re publishing her second collection, You Only Get Letters from Jail, and include here the story “Firm and Good.”

We hope you’ll follow us to both our dark and our light places, and we appreciate you taking us along—to the mountains, to the beach, to the backyard hammock.