The New Yorker, Edna O'brien, Rachel Kushner discussed on The New Yorker: Fiction
This month we're going to hear come into the drawing room Doris by Edna O'Brien, which was published in The New Yorker in October of 1962. Although she was 17, this was her first party, the invitation had come only that morning from misses Rogers of the commercial hotel. The postman brought word that misses Rogers wanted her down that evening without fail. The story was chosen by Rachel Kushner, who's the author of three novels, and most recently the essay collection, the hard crowd, which was published last year. Hi, Rachel. Hi Debra. Welcome. Thank you. You were very keen to read a story by a no, Brian on the podcast, why is that? Well, I started looking back at our history with the magazine and Edna O'Brien has published 39 stories in The New Yorker if the index I found online that is not officially sanctioned by The New Yorker is correct. And that is just it's a lot of stories and there's a lot of range there and I had first come to them through her collected works, the love object, which was published in 2013. And I thought, oh, I'll introduce myself. Not having read all of miss O'Brien's stories previously, I'll introduce myself to them with a collection. And then I started reading from The New Yorker archive, and I realized that she had made some really interesting changes between publishing them in The New Yorker and republishing them and her collection. And something about that made the whole undertaking of a study of her work really appealing, just the seriousness of the project and thinking about how writers make decisions over time and how their relationship to their own work and even sentence by sentence might change. For instance, this story, it's the first story that opens the collection, and it's her first story that was in The New Yorker. Was called in the collection, not coming to the drawing room, Doris, but Irish revel. As you said, this was the first story that Ed no Brian published in the magazine. She was, I think, 31 at the time, and it was not long. It was two years after her first novel had come out. Do you think it has all the hallmarks of the writer she became? Yes, very much so. I would say, I mean, one of the things I really like about Edna Bryant's sensibility is her ability to recapture innocence without sentimentalizing what happens to people once the scales fall from their eyes. She goes through those paces somehow treating her character with utmost precision and sympathy for what it means to have a dream. And then to have that dream be shattered. And I think that those are the hallmarks of a writer who's really in control of her craft. I noticed.