June 4, 2010

New Yorker codification of its writers draws praise, moos, and limited but amusing mystification


Everyone’s talking about the New Yorker‘s new list of its favorite fiction writers who are under 40. No one is questioning why they have to be under 40, and this is exactly the kind of anti-intellectual (i.e., stupid) concept that keeps Moby’s nose out of the New Yorker, but we did like what one of the commentators at the HTML Giant report had to say about it:

This list reflects how little I know about what is going on in the literary world. Scary.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 32 (never heard of)
Chris Adrian, 39; (never heard of)
Daniel Alarcón, 33; (never heard of)
David Bezmozgis, 37; (Natasha was pretty good)
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, 38; (never heard of)
Joshua Ferris, 35; (tried reading but got interrupted)
Jonathan Safran Foer, 33; (what a surprise!)
Nell Freudenberger, 35; (never heard of)
Rivka Galchen, 34; (never heard of)
Nicole Krauss, 35; (boring)
Yiyun Li, 37; (never heard of)
Dinaw Mengestu, 31; (never heard of)
Philipp Meyer, 36; (never heard of)
C. E. Morgan, 33; (never heard of)
Téa Obreht, 24; (never heard of)
Z Z Packer, 37; (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere or something?)
Karen Russell, 28; (never heard of)
Salvatore Scibona, 35; (never heard of)
Gary Shteyngart, 37; (I’ve heard of and I like this guy)
Wells Tower, 37. (I liked the Leopard story a lot. Plus, he’s the first writer I’ve read to start off a line of dialogue with, “Fuckin’, what about the…” I start many of my spoken sentences with this and he nailed it.)

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives