Benjamin Lytal

Benjamin Lytal’s first novel is A Map of Tulsa.

Curtains of Geese: How to be a traveller

Benjamin Lytal, 15 August 2019

Towards​ the end of his best-known book, Arctic Dreams (1986), after chapters on migratory routes, ice, and musk oxen, Barry Lopez recounts the legend of Saint Brendan, the sixth-century Irish monk who sailed north with his brethren in a leathern boat. The monks see an iceberg – ‘a crystal pillar’ – and row towards it, though it takes three days to reach, finally...

In her work​ Willa Cather celebrated heroism; in her life she collected honorary degrees, told her publishers which typeface to use, and stayed out of politics. When Sinclair Lewis won the first American Nobel Prize he said she should have got it instead. She was read by H.L. Mencken with ‘increasing joy’. She was also lampooned for writing in the style of the Ladies’ Home...

Opposite: Peter Stamm

Benjamin Lytal, 30 August 2012

‘Literature should be naked,’ Peter Stamm writes. Words should never obscure the story, ‘its warmth, its form, its vitality’. It’s form that critics in Germany and his native Switzerland are talking about when they compare Stamm to Raymond Carver. Take ‘The True Pure Land’, one of his more ‘naked’ stories. The narrator, a Swiss man working...

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