For our holiday issue this year, we have a special treat: “No Flies, No Folly” by Josh Weil. Josh is probably best known for his book The New Valley, which links together three exquistiely told novellas and inspired the National Book Foundation to choose him for their “5 under 35″ list in 2009. In “No Flies, No Folly,” Josh Weil turns to the short story, and what a story he tells. Set in Pennsylania Dutch country, the narrative opens with Yankel, a Russian-Jewish immigrant peddler, who carries his wares and his troubled past across his shoulders. He visits the Amish farm of the Hartzler family, and when Mrs. Hartzler secretly asks him to bring an electric light on his next visit, their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Around the One Story office, where we pride ourselves on creating quick mash-ups to describe the different issues of our magazine, we’ve been calling this story “Fiddler on the Roof meets Witness.” But that hardly does it justice, because it is the language of the piece, the beauty of Josh Weil’s prose that distills all the elements of religious tradition, history, immigration, family, loss, progress and industrialization into a love story that is truly illuminating. I hope everyone enjoys “No Flies, No Folly” as much as I did–it’s the perfect story to read on a cold winter’s night over the holidays. Be sure to also read the author’s Q&A with us to find out more about Josh Weil and the inspiration behind “No Flies, No Folly.”
If you’re in town this Monday night, please go check out the very talented Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of “Housewifely Arts,” issue #142, as she reads at KGB as part of the “Raconteur Presents Bennington in Manhattan” reading. Other writers reading include fellow colleagues from Bennington College’s MFA Writing Seminar: Willa Carroll, Liz Arnold, Jeremy Oldfield, Robert Hansmann, Lisa Alexander, Hannah Tennant-Moore, Jennifer Acker, Alex Dawson, and the acclaimed poet/Bennington professor Timothy Liu.
The Raconteur is a bookstore in central New Jersey known for its eclectic in-store programming and literary road shows. It has been called a literary center of gravity by The New York Times, a literary landmark by Time Out New York, and a literary sanctuary by the London Guardian.
Headed by executive director Manuel Gonzales, OS author of issue #66, “Pilot, Co-Pilot, Writer“, The Austin Batcave runs workshops and tutoring for kids in Austin Public Schools. This entirely non-profit and underfunded project provides an indispensable opportunity for these young writers. In addition, it relies on a strong network of volunteers dedicated to giving these kids the support they deserve. The Batcave is totally free for the kids, their parents, and their teachers.
“We introduce students to writing and music and art; we help them understand that writing doesn’t have to be a chore, that it can be an opportunity for them to discover their voices, tell their stories; we teach them the fundamentals of writing through creative workshops they actually enjoy and want to attend again and again”
On Sunday, December 12th, Darin Strauss and Myla Goldberg will be reading from their new books at Union Hall in Brooklyn, where you can drink drinks and eat food, play bocce, and be a part of a literary conversation all at once.
Darin (issue #15 “Smoking Inside”), who’s normally a novelist, has written a memoir, Half a Life, which has some interesting things in common with Myla’s new novel, The False Friend. So, on December 12th, it’ll be Fiction vs. Memoir, with both writers talking about the different ways the forms allow a writer to get (or fail to get) at the truth. Plus, the event is a benefit for the Brooklyn New School, also known as P.S. 146, which like all public schools has been hit hard by the city’s budget cuts. You should come! Here’s the info all pretty-like:
FICTION VS. MEMOIR: MYLA GOLDBERG AND DARIN STRAUSS IN CONVERSATION IN A BENEFIT FOR THE BROOKLYN NEW SCHOOL
Sunday, December 12
Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn
$12-$25 Donation at the Door
In Darin’s new memoir, Half a Life, he writes of his experience of being behind the wheel when a high school classmate swerved in front of his car and died.
In Myla’s new novel, The False Friend, a woman confronts the memory of having contributed to the death of a child when she was a girl.
This is event is sponsored by One Story.