With The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead Yet Again Proves His Brilliance

With The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead Yet Again Proves His Brilliance

by Zack Graham


One of the most talented American novelists of his generation, Colson Whitehead’s nine books constitute about as diverse a body of work as any living writer’s. His settings include a post-apocalyptic zombie attack, an American slave plantation in the 1700s, the mid-’80s Hampton’s, and the modern World Poker Tour. He is the recipient of nearly every serious literary award and/or honor known to mankind, and his essays and stories have appeared in every leading English-language newspaper and magazine. The man is a national treasure.

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The Ways In Which We Borrow

The Ways In Which We Borrow

by Robb Todd

There is trouble on the street tonight. Had a premonition that she should not go alone. She caught me stealing once when I was five. I enjoy stealing. It is as simple as that. It is just a simple fact. Because mutiny on the bounty is what we are all about. We are going to board your ship and turn it on out. 

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We Had a Fête & O What a Glorious Fête It Was

We had our annual Summer Fête on Thursday, June 6th, 2019, at The William Vale, with honoree Gary Shteyngart and guest editor of the 15th anniversary issue Alex Gilvarry. Our sincere thanks to all who made it out in support of the journal; it was our most successful benefit to date.

Epiphany lives.

A necessarily hopscotch survey of the revelry follows, with comments from our intrepid interns below. All photos by Tim Draper.

Before June 6, I had never before attended a fête, much less worked at one. But it was such a pleasure to help organize and set up for the open-air event in the company of fellow literature-lovers and a beautiful New York City view. From setting up the auction items to manning the donations table, I interacted with so many kind and interesting people, invested in words and the work of Epiphany. I also really enjoyed hearing the various readings and the comments of Gary Shteyngart! Overall, I would say the evening was a combination of delectable hors d'oeuvres and great conversation—what more could one ask for? — Anita Sheih

My first Epiphany fête was a night of food and drink and mingling and great views of Manhattan. But the most striking aspect of the celebration was the fact that every person there seemed to be united in appreciation for the mission of Epiphany and the work of its writers. Every attendee, from the Epiphany staff and board to the guests to the readers, and even our honoree Gary Shteyngart, mentioned their love of Epiphany, whether to me in conversation or in a speech to the crowd. This, it seems to me, is the essence of the journal— an undoubtedly great party, fueled by love of literature. — Eleanor Stern

It was a perfect New York night for a rooftop celebration — gentle breeze, warm weather, and stacks of books everywhere. Pulling off such a successful event was not easy, but it was only possible because of our wonderful guests. Even though my internship has just recently begun, the amount of effort that every team member contributed to make the fête happen was evident in the pinpoint focus leading up to it and the abundant smiles of the guests long into the night. The fête was a perfect ode to literature-lovers everywhere. In the words of our featured writer Gary Shteyngart, "Here's to another fifteen years of Epiphany!" — Chiara Kaufman

Brian Evenson's Staggering Ventriloquism

Brian Evenson's Staggering Ventriloquism

by Zack Graham

The author of over two dozen books of fiction, criticism, and work in translation, Brian Evenson is a master of many languages, tones, voices, and forms. His work renders the distinction between“literary” and “genre" fiction trivial. 

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Smile, America

Smile, America

by Tess Crain

America prizes smiling. Companies in client-facing industries have been known to circulate “service with a smile” policies, which require workers to feign happiness, if necessary, to please customers. “Hey Philly, got a smile only a brother can love?” “Give Us Your Crooked, Crowded, and Snaggled Teeth.” “Come in for a lifetime supply of confidence.” So asks, begs, and pledges SmileDirectClub, one of several fix-your-face startups with pandemic advertising. I understand. I got braces freshman year of high school and did not smile with my mouth open for two years.

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Drunk on the Gush of Poptimism and Skepticism

Drunk on the Gush of Poptimism and Skepticism

by Robb Todd

People complain about the city. There is never not something to complain about. The sidewalks fill with leaves — red and gold — and these critics still complain. Some people complain and never say goodbye but, sometimes, a complainer vacates. The complainer who vacates complains about the city long after she has left. She complains that when she first moved to the city, the city was great. The city was amazing — she never felt so alive. Best thing ever. Never had so much fun. But the city is not great nor amazing nor the best anymore, and it never will be again, she claims. It changed. Forever, she alleges. The city changed. Not the critical complainer, though, just the city doing all the changing.

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The Popularity of Negativity

The Popularity of Negativity

by Zack Graham

Christian loves culture. It’s how he spends all of his time. He champions good books (with the exception of graphic novels), reading the books he likes twice, even three times in a row. He listens to podcasts. He spends entire days “at the movies,” going to double and even triple features at a single theater. Culture is Christian’s life, and writing about culture is his life’s work.

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Julius' Pigeon

Julius' Pigeon

by Siena Oristaglio

I’m sitting on a park bench surrounded by pigeons.

They teeter and flap about.

It’s raining but they don’t seem to mind. 

They peck at the ground, scouring for crumbs.

Their heads scan the surroundings mechanically.

I shift on my bench.

A few turn towards me with an ominous agility.

One sinks its head into its thick neck plumage and gives me a suspicious look. 

I stare back at it. 

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Debate vs. Fight: Notes in the Lead-Up to "the Debate of the Century"

Debate vs. Fight: Notes in the Lead-Up to "the Debate of the Century"

by Tess Crain

Friday night, in Toronto, Slovenian philosopher and analyst Slavoj Žižek will debate Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson on the topic of “Happiness: Capitalism vs. Marxism,” with Stephen Blackwood moderating.

The internet (including Twitter, Toronto Life, the Chronicle, and the Stranger) has a lot to say, and the more you read, the more the debate seems like a title fight or crossover smackdown: it’s the “debate of the century,” a “philoso-fight”; Peterson “wants to throw. The eff. Down”; Žižek will “verbally curbstomp” Peterson—basically, something between Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Conor McGregor, and Alien vs. Predator. Just with words.

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What Is and What Will Ever Be

What Is and What Will Ever Be

by Zack Graham

What is a ghost? Is it an apparition that appears at night to frighten us? Is it a spirit at unrest, refusing to pass on to the next life until it settles a score with our world? Are ghosts corporeal or bodiless? Real or imagined? Alive or dead? Nell Freudenberger tackles these questions in her third novel Lost and Wanted, which centers around Helen Clapp, a brilliant physicist and single mother coping with the sudden death of Charlie, a black Hollywood screenwriter and Helen’s best friend from college.

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Mei's Crow

Mei's Crow

by Siena Oristaglio

The room is as dark as a crow.

A bright light appears, bathing a group of figures. They pose along a bench, their gazes fixed into empty space.

Strange sounds permeate the room — news clips, low voices, musical snippets, static — a radio on seek. The group remains still.

Far behind them, two figures emerge. One, legs spread, appears to give birth to the other.

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A Single Mind

A Single Mind

by Tess Crain

Some of the best novelists in the Americas and Europe have written about chess—yet one of the best chess novels, Chess Story (published in German as Schachnovelle; also known as The Royal Game) by Stefan Zweig, was written by an otherwise less than superlative author.

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