I’m happy to report there’s a new review of my debut collection of short stories–When You Find Us We Will Be Gone–over at Atticus Review. The (ominous!) title of the review is “UNCOMFORTABLE AND UNHINGED PEOPLE” and here’s a snippet:

“…the uneasiness Linforth is able to create in us as readers. What is great about this disquiet and discomfort is that it seems as though Linforth is trying to hold a mirror up for us to see our own human flaws, perhaps in an effort to get us to fight against them.”

Check out the rest of the review here, and you can buy the collection here on Amazon.

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It has a few months since I last posted. But in that time my debut collection of short stories–When You Find Us We Will Be Gone–has garnered a few more reviews. I’ve been very happy with the nice things reviewers have been saying so far. Over at Foreword Reviews, they note:

“The sting of Christopher Linforth’s stories lingers long after the final page. Complex and disturbing, they follow ordinary people caught up in worlds not of their own making, knowing that somewhere (and it’s always somewhere else) there is a better life—a more worthy partner, a brighter future—if only they could get there.”

And at the Iowa Review:

“The stories…are at once bold but also subtle, haunting but also full of hope, spanning decades and continents.”

Finally a few kind words from At the Inkwell:

“Linforth has given us a rich array of plots, characters and settings in his first collection, and one that’s worth reading for short story lovers.”

All good stuff. You can buy my debut collection at Amazon or Barnes and Noble or through your local bookstore.

 

 

On Christmas day, the wonderful online publication The Rumpus published my review of the poetry collection Blitzkrieg.  Here’s the opening:

“Strangely, with the entire multimodal dazzle that adorns Blitzkrieg, the poems of John Gosslee exist in a vestigial nook, a calm ache of textual space blissfully unaware of the ripples created by its presence. This is not a criticism. Rather it is an attempted elucidation of the juxtaposition inherent in such an ambitious project. Less a book, and more a sensory experience, the collection comes paired with a soundtrack by the composer Taras Mashtalir and a movie by Thomas Agostino.”

I have a new essay in the latest issue of Switchback.

Here’s the opening of “Narravitized”:

When I first started writing essays I wasn’t really writing essays. I barely knew what the term meant or what the parameters were for what I was attempting to accomplish. I was ten, though. Or perhaps eleven. I remember in history class we were given thick textbooks that had been at the school for generations. Scrawled across the pages were crude drawings of naked women: voluptuous, big-haired, dead-eyed—a kind of Playboy palimpsest. The teacher told us to ignore the graffiti and to focus on the words. We were studying the causes of the First World War; how all of those European countries could have converged into a destructive genesis, a beginning of war. The book told a story—albeit in the essay form—of Franz Ferdinand, train timetables, the Schlieffen Plan, jingoism, imperial dreams. History had been rendered into narrative. From where I sat in the classroom these weren’t competing theories of causality, but parts of the story—they added the drama.

I have a new story out at Hawaii Pacific Review. Here’s the opening:

A Sky Green and Fields Blue

At the doorway to the barracks, Shoshana saw snow fall into the darkness. Now and then the searchlights scanning the camp illuminated the flurry of white, reminding her of the soap flakes her mother used to wash her clothes. She lifted the gauze from her wrist and picked at the scabby flesh that had grown over the blue numbers. She was tired of the factory, of the endless repetition, of the soreness and the bruises, the grease under her fingernails, the bread and lard rations that made her vomit, and the latrines smeared with dark, liquid shit. Dafna, a Czech woman from Karlsbad, called her away from the door. Shoshana did not want to hear her words. She was tired of listening to the older women.

One of my stories–a playful reworking of the contributor note form found in literary journals–has been published in the new issue of Whiskey Island. The issue (No. 62) is available to purchase here. The journal also features the fantastic work of work of Alissa Nutting, Nate Pritts, Russ Woods, and many others. Here’s a sample:

Contributors’ Notes

Carol Clemente teaches writing in the Chicago area where she lives with her two Bichon Frises, Dolores and Fu-Fu. She has published poems in The Paris Review, Crazyhorse, and Feminist Studies. She also has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

This is Tom Fritz’s first published story. He divides his time between drinking espresso at Blue Bottle in Williamsburg and hatching Internet start-ups at his mom’s ranch house in Queens. She has a cat, Pringle, which he’s not allowed to pet. Though he sometimes secretly feeds her handfuls of gluten-free granola and occasionally tosses her a catnip mouse. He’s not sure what else he’s supposed to say here or which achievements he should note down. Sorry, I’m dropping the third-person shtick. I don’t know why you guys require it. But it’s creeping me out. It’s like this note is an obituary or something. I’m here, you know? Alive. Well, just about. I already admitted I live with my mom. It’s kind of a downer, especially on my love life. It’s been a while since I got laid. I’m twenty-three now, but back in college I was an A-grade bullshitter. On the steps of Alexander Library, I held court, often rapping lyrical speeches on the future of the Internet and handing out flyers that detailed my own social networking ideas, and directed people to visit my website. And, sure, I dated plenty of girls, usually hipster types who wrote poems on napkins and then used the corners to wipe the crust from their eyes. Man, that turned me on. I majored in Communication while my friends specialized in Fine Art or Architecture. Their classes were titled “Seventeenth-Century Nudes” and “Onanistic Spaces: A History of the Architectural Phallus.” Sounds cool now. Back then, I never wrote much—just essays on Marshall McLuhan and the lesbian scenes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even made the Dean’s List one semester. Recently, I’ve been looking for a way out. Maybe an M.F.A. Perhaps from Iowa, or somewhere corn grows like that. When I sent my story to the Tenure Quarterly Review, I thought a literary agent would read it, sign me up, get me a six-figure book deal. I mean that Chad Harbach landed sweet bank. So far, for me, this hasn’t been the case. Here’s the skinny: so my story is a glorified to-do list—a to-fuck really—and six months ago, the editors (Hi Gary! Hi Twyla!) emailed to say “Errands” had been accepted. Champagne-in-a-can followed. I tell you, it’s funny. I remember my ninth-grade English teacher, Mr. Hausman, berate me: “Tom, I’m not convinced you read Hamlet. In fact, I’m not sure you know who Shakespeare is and why he’s so important.” Well, old Hausman was right. I didn’t read Hamlet, but I did study Business Week and Forbes and think about how I could accumulate a Google-level fortune before I graduated college. Even though I went to Rutgers (my safety school), I knew I’d be headhunted by Silicon Valley. Post-college, when that didn’t happen, I fell into a gnarly funk. I hit the streets, zonked on Xanax, and looked for inspiration—something to let me know I should carry on living. Well, one cold morning outside the 42nd Street Library, I thought maybe I should have listened to Hausman and I checked out a North Face backpack’s worth of classic novels: Madame Bovary, The Stranger, Catcher in the Rye, etc. That’s how I ended up writing, and dreaming of literary conquest.

Michael Butler nominates Pringle for a Pushcart.

 

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I have a new story, “The Cowboys of Fukushima,” out this week in a newish online magazine–Swarm.

Here’s an excerpt:

We were told the cows had gone feral, that in the days after the accident they had broken free of the pen and disappeared into the surrounding hills. Government officials were spooked by the rumors of this wild herd, declaring that the cattle posed a radiation risk to the elderly civilians still living in the warehouse on the outskirts of the city. On first meeting Makoto Nishimura, the local representative, the three of us—McAlister, Doolin, and Ketchum—knew the problem was more than some radioactive cattle. We could see he feared the unknown.

Read the rest here.

 

 

Today sees publication of one my recent stories, “Take It From Me, Kid, I’m a Clown.” Published by Lunch Ticket (Antioch’s MFA literary magazine), the story is available to read for free on the interwebs.

Here’s the opening:

“Listen kid, I know it’s your birthday and all, that you only turn ten once, and that this is your special day, but, come on, you’re crying over your balloon animal because you wanted a giraffe and you got an Irish Wolfhound, which you say looks retarded, and that I’m retarded; please, give me some respect here—even though I go by Bozo the Clown, I’m no bozo, just part of the franchise—this is my career, my profession…”

A while ago I started fooling around with the blurb form and constructing them in terms of bad blurbs, that is the accosted established writer frolicking in his penned superiority (!). Praise be to the publishing gods that a couple have recently been released on the web:

“Rejected Blurb #23” in Atticus Review and “Rejected Blurb #6” in Metazen.

Another one of my thesis stories has just been published. This time in the latest issue of The MacGuffin. Here’s an excerpt:

Flyer

In the months leading up to my ninth birthday I bugged Father for a red wagon. He bought me one, of course—a Radio Flyer with a green bow tied around the handle. That morning I didn’t wait to open my other presents. I just took the wagon on to the street and used it to move rocks from the neighbor’s pond to a narrow culvert that separated the neighborhood from the beach. We lived in a large Catholic section of Coney Island, a ten-minute walk from Steeplechase Park. From my bedroom window, I could see the metal tower of the Parachute Jump ride and the people screaming as long steel ropes hoisted them up and down.

A few days after my birthday, I asked Father at breakfast if I could go to work with him. “Sure, Samuel,” he said. “Just don’t cause trouble, like last time.” He ruffled my hair and smiled so widely I saw the toast still inside his mouth. He carried on reading the newspaper and I toyed with the scrambled eggs on my plate and thought about the candy bar in my room. Father drank the rest of his coffee and said, “If you’re finished, do the dishes.” He left the table and soon after I heard him talking to my cousin, Pam, in their bedroom. I left my plate where it was and went to the front door. I peered through the glass panel at the neat piles of orange and brown leaves in the neighbor’s garden and I felt an urge to kick the leaves, then bury them next to the pin oak that overlooked our house.

Pam called my name. But I ignored her. “Samuel,” she said again, this time louder. I turned to see Pam, hands on hips, her body inflated by a bubblegum-pink cardigan. She shook her head. Her brown hair framed her angular face, making her look older than she was. She hustled me to the hallway closet and made sure I put on my pencil-gray pea coat and thick woolen gloves.

Father kissed Pam on the cheek and said goodbye. He had on mud-brown khakis and one of his old Navy shirts, the epaulets unbuttoned and loose. He slung a cigarette in his mouth and grabbed my hand. At the door, he looked toward the bright sky and said something about the salt air. He was always talking about its benefits, as though breathing it in would cure any ailment. We took a short cut past the bathhouses so we could see the vast expanse of the ocean and Father could point out the smallness of the gulls. In the park, he ran a concession stand that sold ice-cream in the summer and popcorn and hot dogs in the fall. As we stepped onto the boardwalk, he explained that once a week a man came to check the stock levels. “He’s important,” he said. “Mr. Kendrick.”

Copyright © 2012 Christopher Linforth.