Issue 52

Summer Reading



Editor's Note

In the late 1980s, the British music critic Simon Reynolds coined the term “miserabilism” to describe Morrissey and the numerous Manchester bands spreading their very personal gloom across the globe. The word could also be applied to the “Merritt Parkway Novel,” Gerald Howard’s term for the miserabilist fiction produced within a stone’s throw of the road cutting through affluent, suburban Connecticut, from Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit to Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road to Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm. Howard reevaluates the cultural impact of these novels and examines their continuing influence. Fittingly, Tin House 52 features work pushing the realistic envelope, including Amy Hempel’s powerful, closely observed story “A Full Service Shelter,” Alice Munro’s older couple coming to grips with mortality in “Dolly,” Sherman Alexie’s poem of loss and legacies in “Crazy Horse Boulevard,” and Anne Carson’s poetic essay on the idea of threat in “We Point the Bone.” Consider this summer reading as providing a few grains of sand in your suntan lotion, a little bit of grit to remind you of the depth and breadth of the human condition.

A note about the digital versions: If you read on a Kindle, use the Mobipocket edition; for all other e-readers, use the ePub edition. 

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Table of Contents


Holly Goddard Jones
The Right Way to End a Story
Amy Hempel
A Full-Service Shelter
Alice Munro
Kristen Iskandrian
The Inheritors
Jess Row
Summer Song
Alexander Maksik
Snake River Gorge
Nina Buckless
Lee K. Abbott
From Here to Kingdom Come

New Voice Fiction

Bennett Sims


Adrienne Rich
From Strata
Cate Marvin
Thoughts on Wisteria
On the Ineptitude of Certain Hurricanes
Sherman Alexie
Crazy Horse Boulevard
Angelo Nikolopoulos
Lypsinka Has a Fit
Barbara Ras
Sandra Beasley
The Sword Swallower’s Valentine
Valentine for the Grave Digger


Gerald Howard
Notes on the Merritt Parkway Novel
Anne Carson
We Point the Bone: An Essay on Threat

Lost & Found

Francine Prose
On Annie Ernaux’s A Man’s Place
Paul Charles Griffin
On Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake
Luis Jaramillo
On E.M. Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady
Robin Romm
On Alison Lurie’s The War Between the Tates
Aaron Hamburger
On Patricia Highsmith’s The Tremor of Forgery

Readable Feast

Katie Arnold-Ratliff
Cooking with Friends

Last Word

A Tin House Crossword Puzzle