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Alec Niedenthal

Alec Niedenthal is a recent graduate of Brown University's MFA program in Literary Arts. He has published fiction in the Brooklyn RailThe ToastAgriculture ReaderVol 1. Brooklyn, and other venues. He is currently working on a novel about anti-Semitism and sex.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction: David Szalay with Alec Niedenthal

Before this interview I’d read two of David Szalay’s novels, All That Man Is and London and the Southeast (both from Graywolf). The former was nominated for last year’s Man Booker prize; the latter, David’s first novel—he has written a total of four—is being published on our side of the Atlantic for the first time this fall. The text below applies more to All That Man Is than to London, which is a more conventionally structured book.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction: NEEL PATEL with Alec Niedenthal 

Neel Patel’s debut collection of stories, If You See me, Don’t Say Hi, is an extraordinary look into many kinds of Indian-American lives: particularly the thwarted dreams and frustrated desires of the young and semi-young. From failed med school exams to mental illness, Patel’s stories have a wide sweep—and a great eye for the complex, the ambiguous, the still-undefined.

On Von Chiffon

We were in constant awe of him—Von Chiffon, this fidgeting boy with a voice that rose without ceasing, a voice that when he began speaking, trundled until it had done.

New Routes in Fiction
A talk with Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín is a writer most of us might know because of Brooklyn, his novel of Irish emigration across the Atlantic, which takes place in the 1950s. A quiet study of displacement and longing, it was recently adapted for the screen.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction: Tessa Hadley with Alec Niedenthal

Tessa Hadley’s stories and novels treat the humdrum drama of British middle-class life with reverence, intelligence and a certain kind of eye I’m having trouble adding an adjective to.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction:
KEITH GESSEN with Alec Niedenthal 

Keith Gessen’s A Terrible Country is a remarkably plotted novel. It proceeds in little twists and bends, gradually gaining scope, like a line that becomes a plane. Gessen’s second work of fiction, it reminds me of how—if I remember right—Tolstoy described War and Peace: not a novel but something else.

New Routes in Fiction: TAYLOR LARSEN with Alec Niedenthal 

Stranger, Father, Beloved follows a wealthy New England husband and father of two who, while hosting a party with his wife, meets a man by whom he’d like to be replaced—as a husband, and as a father.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction:
David Coventry with Alec Niedenthal

David Coventry’s masterful The Invisible Mile is, on its face, a novel about cycling. It’s about the 1928 Tour de France, when an English-speaking team participated for the first time, a peloton from New Zealand.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction:
Julie Lekstrom Himes with Alec Niedenthal

Mikhail and Margarita is a book equally noteworthy for its addicting plot as it is for the serious questions it asks about the writer’s relation to the state.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction:
JAMEL BRINKLEY with Alec Niedenthal 

It feels nice to find innovative fiction that doesn't play games, that tells the story straight. Jamel Brinkley's work is like that, impressionistic at times—interested in the light on the water, the glint on someone's hair—but always caught up in the drama of what it means, and how it feels, to have an interior life.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction: CHRIS POWER with Alec Niedenthal

Power’s debut collection—he has worked as a book critic for twenty years—Mothers treats the loss of self and identity in flux. Always powerful but never too neat, the stories in the book often have a neutral tone that belies the complex turns they take. Mothers marks the arrival of a great talent, and you should read it.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction:
SHEILA HETI with Alec Niedenthal

Sheila Heti is the author of seven books, including the 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be? which was a New York Times Notable Book and was called by Time magazine "one of the most talked-about books of the year."

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction: ANDREW MARTIN with Alec Niedenthal

Andrew Martin's Early Work is a rich, morally complex novel about infidelity among millenials. What develops is a powerful novel of manners that shows how a subset of smart millenials think, how they love and betray each other.

New Routes in Fiction
A talk with Jaroslav Kalfar

Jaroslav Kalfar’s debut, Spaceman of Bohemia, starts by tracing Jakub Procházka’s space flight to Chopra, a cosmic dust cloud of which he, as the Czech Republic’s fictional first astronaut, is meant to return to earth with samples.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction:
ELIZABETH STROUT with Alec Niedenthal

Elizabeth Strout writes fiction that adds and strips away. For every remarkable act of noticing, every tree rustle or bitter wind she gets across, her work hides the profound alienation—self divided from self, parent divided from child—that drives her characters on.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction: KIMBERLY KING PARSONS with Alec Niedenthal

Kimberly King Parsons’s first book, Black Light, is aptly titled. Each story reflects light out of darkness. Equally, these stories find rot and provocative weirdness in the well-lit subdivisions of Texan America—middle-class parents stand at one or two removes from reality; hotels become heavens to the down-at-heel; children bully and are bullied and proceed by means of fictions.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction
A talk with Jonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee’s masterful High Dive is at once a high-minded political novel and an interrogation of how it feels to fail, to stagnate, and of the moments of grace that can occur within stagnation.

In Conversation

New Routes in Fiction
A Talk with Akhil Sharma

One voice I tried—a third-person focused on the point-of-view of the child. The third-person narrative consumes plot at a different rate at the first-person.

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The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2019

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