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The new American ironists

The literary magazine "McSweeney's" is re-defining the US short story. Its editor, Dave Eggers, says it is not ironic. Yeah, right.

By Jonathon Keats   November 2003

Book: McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales Author: eds Dave Eggers, Michael Chabon Price: (Hamish Hamilton, ?14.99)

To the extent that culture is an expression of geography, American fiction writers of the late 20th century have been ill-advised to anoint the Iowa writing programme their finishing school of choice. It has rendered the short story form as flat as the midwestern landscape and as homogenous as its populace.

As a release from such prosaic terrain, American readers – especially those who once identified themselves as members of Generation X – have, in the last couple of years, embraced a literary…

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