The Paris Review Book of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Baseball, Travels, The Art of Writing, and Everything Else in the World Since 1953

The Paris Review; Introduction by George Plimpton




Trade Paperback

928 Pages



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For fifty years, The Paris Review has published writing and interviews from the world's most celebrated and brilliant authors. To commemorate the journal's golden anniversary, we now have this diverse and illuminating anthology, with the greatest writers of the last half-century writing on the greatest subjects. It is a unique collection of stories, poetry, thoughts, interviews, and observations on the themes of modern life both great and trivial, as well as a compendium of timeless insights into how and why we embark on literature—and on the processes of creativity and critical thinking.

Like the masterful work of the writers included here, this book inspires a dizzying range of thought and emotion, holding a mirror to the world we live in and to the reader's own hopes, dreams, fears, and joys.


Praise for The Paris Review Book

"A richly endowed night-table volume that keeps on giving."—The New Yorker

"This astoundingly diverse anthology, celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Paris Review, is jam-packed with resonant and provocative work from some of our greatest writers, past and present: W. H. Auden, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Bishop, Truman Capote, William Burroughs, Susan Sontag, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, Jonathan Franzen, Ian McEwan, and Alice Munro, to name just a fraction. Rather than relying on critics to illuminate the craft of writing secondhand, the founders inaugurated a series of interviews with the authors themselves, creating what Plimpton, in his introduction, refers to as 'a DNA of literature'; several excerpts from those interviews are included here. A look at the eras and themes represented shows that the journal's only abiding mandate has been an evolving brand of artistic humanism, which has morphed and adapted to the changing times. How else can one explain being able to jump with such joy and ease from a hilarious and poignant story by Lorrie Moore to an interview with Ted Hughes about his first meeting with Sylvia Plath, then to Allen Ginsberg's loving, sexually charged poem about the life and death of Frank O'Hara? It is a tribute to Plimpton and his co-founders that the entries in this wonderful book can be read in any order, for the reader will be able to see his or her life reflected on every page."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Paris Review Book
HEARTBREAKLorrie MooreTerrific MotherAlthough she had been around them her whole life, it was when she reached thirty-five that holding babies seemed to make her nervous--just at the beginning, a twinge of stage fright swinging up from the gut. "Adrienne, would you like to hold the baby? Would you mind?" Always these words from a woman her age looking kind and beseeching--a former friend, she was losing her friends to babble and beseech--and Adrienne would force herself to breathe deep. Holding a baby was no longer natural--she was no longer natural--but a test of womanliness
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  • The Paris Review; Introduction by George Plimpton

  • The Paris Review has published fiction, poetry, interviews, essays, and art since 1953. The journal has published the work of William Styron and Truman Capote, Philip Roth and Seamus Heaney, Toni Morrison and Alice Munro, among many others, and has interviewed everyone from Vladimir Nabokov to Ralph Ellison to Richard Ford.
  •  The Paris Review
    The Paris Review