Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Freebie: News From the World by Paula Fox

Congratulations to Laura Knight Moretz, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, He Said What? edited by Victorian Zackheim.

This week's book giveaway is News From the World, stories and essays by Paula Fox.  Not your typical book which can be neatly shelved under "fiction" or "non-fiction," News From the World is a hybrid volume which mashes truth, half-truths, and outright fabrications into one reading experience.  Since none of the seventeen selections in the book are labeled, it's often hard to separate fiction from essay.  The result is probably one of the purest reading experiences you can have because without the preconceptions and limits of form, you concentrate strictly on the words and Fox's lucid style.  But don't just take my word for it; here's what Tom Bissell (God Lives in St. Petersburg) has to say about the book: "Paula Fox is one of our greatest writers.  Her prose is a model of ruthless, gorgeous efficiency and her mind is so unnervingly alert to the messy contradictions that come with being human.  These essays and stories will delight and inspire anyone who cares about literature, storytelling, and truth itself."  To pique your curiosity further, here's the publisher's jacket copy for News From the World:
This complete gathering of Paula Fox's short works spans forty-five illustrious years of her career, from 1965 to 2010. There are perfectly turned stories (two of which—"Grace" and "The Broad Estates of Death"—won the O. Henry Prize) in which characters unexpectedly find themselves at a crossroads and struggle to connect with others. There is memoir—a genre where Fox's honesty, grace, and perception set her apart—in which Fox revisits childhood ideas about art and reality, life in New York in the 1960s, and her relationship with her husband's family. And there are essays—pointed, funny, relentlessly persuasive pieces on such topics as censorship and the corruption of language. Enlivened by Fox's signature wit and electrified by her unsparing insights into human nature, News from the World is essential for Fox's loyal readers and perfect to introduce those who are meeting her for the first time.
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of News From the World, all you have to do is answer this question:

What author helped revive Fox's career when he discovered her 1970 novel Desperate Characters while at the writer's colony Yaddo and later praised it in a 1996 essay for Harper's?  (The answer can be found in this Paris Review interview with Fox)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on June 9--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on June 10.

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