Picks and Pans Review: The Paris Review #79

UPDATED 07/20/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/20/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT

edited by George A. Plimpton and others

The first issue of this famous quarterly appeared in 1953, but the editors, who "consist entirely of people doing something else," just got around to marking the first quarter century with this 420-page celebration. The opening fiction is an outrageously funny story cal led The Attack on San Clemente by Jerry Bumpus, in which an unhinged Nixon hires actors who sound like Haldeman and Ehrlichman to make a whole set of new tapes. One of the story's characters is called Coover—novelist Robert Coover used Nixon as a villain in The Public Burning. There's an interview with Rebecca West, who observes: "I've aroused hostility in an extraordinary lot of people. I've never known why. I don't think I'm formidable." And Hemingway suffers the embarrassment of having a never-published introduction to a volume of his stories printed under the title The Art of the Short Story. Its tone is glib and condescending in a way that won't help the Hemingway reputation. This anthology also has samples by every living poet you ever heard of, drawings by David Hockney, and run-on notes on the Review itself, a lively account of much that's happened in recent literature. (Paris Review, $10)

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