Friday, April 11, 2014

Lynne Tillman's New Book in the New Yorker

What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (April 2014) is a new collection of essays and criticism by UAlbany English Professor Lynne Tillman.

Here's a profile of Tillman from the introduction to the new book by Irish writer Colm Tóibín posted on the New Yorker blog:

"She was wearing black; she had a glass of whiskey on the rocks in her hand. Her delivery was dry, deadpan, deliberate. There was an ironic undertow in her voice, and a sense that she had it in for earnestness, easy emotion, realism. She exuded a tone which was considered, examined and then re-examined. She understood, it seemed to me, that everything she said would have to be able to survive the listeners’ intelligence and sense of irony; her own intelligence was high and refined, her sense of irony knowing and humorous. I had not come across anyone like her before...."


Here's a review from Bookforum:

I’ve long admired Lynne Tillman’s criticism. Her writing is founded on curiosity and deep feeling. It’s precise and imaginative, devoid of jargon or cliché. It’s the opposite of what I dislike in criticism, and I know I’m not alone in my appreciation of what she does. “What she does” is hard to pinpoint, though, and the title of her new collection is a good-natured fake-out for all of us who might look to her as a model for how to live—or just how to write.


And here's some assorted praise:

"Lynne Tillman has always been a hero of mine — not because I 'admire' her writing, (although I do, very, very much), but because I feel it. Imagine driving alone at night. You turn on the radio and hear a song that seems to say it all. That's how I feel...:" — Jonathan Safran Foer

"Lynne Tillman's writing is bracing, absurd, argumentative, and luminous. She never fails to exhibit her unique capacities for watchfulness and astonishment." — Jonathan Lethem

"Like an acupuncturist, Lynne Tillman knows the precise points in which to sink her delicate probes. One of the biggest problems in composing fiction is understanding what to leave out; no one is more severe, more elegant, more shocking in her reticences than Tillman." — Edmund White