Sunday, October 01, 2006

Amanda Stern

I love Amanda Stern's novel THE LONG HAUL so much that I've written about it in three articles. By the time two of them made it to print, the "Amanda Stern" sections, as I fondly thought of them, had been cut out for one reason or another. The third article just never got published. But now I have a "blog"! So I can say anything I want and the world has to listen! I can say that THE LONG HAUL is a perfect, icy book, a tough book, where the humor cuts, the writing is flinty and true, oh my Lord, this is a horrible description of it, and it's starting to be longer than the book itself. I should have saved those articles! The main thing is, it breaks your heart. That's because the narrator lets us (almost by accident it seems, so deft is the writing) into those cracks in the ice, and we feel real pain, real regret, under that crafted, crystalline surface. So, (here comes part nine of our survey) Amanda liked Richie Rich and Archie as a girl, but you know, that theme of this blog is wearing thin, isn't it? Still, I can't resist pointing out that Archie is whipping everybody else's behinds. Writers love Archie! If this blog has proven anything, it's that. Coincidentally, right now Amanda is teaching a course in graphic novel writing to 5th, 6th and 7th graders... and it is through this activity, I believe, that she has discovered a fellow whose work she recommends to us all: Matt Madden. But the main thing is, read THE LONG HAUL, despite - nay, because of! - my dodgy description. Hey, there was a big picture of Amanda in the New York Times Magazine a week or two ago, full color! That, along with the fact that we have a correspondent in Rome, and one with a genius grant, makes this the classiest blog of all time!