Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Freeman's' edited by John Freeman

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Freeman's' edited by John Freeman

Freeman's: Arrival

edited by John Freeman

Text Publishing, $32.99 pb, 304 pp, 9781925240221

Arrival is the first volume in a new series of literary anthologies comprising previously unpublished fiction, non-fiction, and poetry edited by John Freeman, former editor of UK-based Granta. The book begins with a boring and self-indulgent introduction about the choice of theme: Arrival. Freeman explains that after experiencing serious turbulence on a flight to Syracuse, he 'never forgot how exhilarating it was to be welcomed back into gravity's gentler embrace'. He continues, 'Every time I read I look to re-create the feeling of arriving that day.'

Fortunately, the authors interpret this theme loosely and focus largely on the theme of returning to a time or place – a kind of 're-arrival' – that allows for the composition of haunting and uncanny works. What Freeman lacks in his introduction, he makes up in his ability to draw a stellar cast of writers. These include Dave Eggers, Lydia Davis, Haruki Murakami, and Anne Carson. The anthology begins with 'Six Shorts', a suite of untitled transnational autobiographies. Despite each piece ending with the author's name, the effect is of one long collaborative piece. It is the standout feature of the anthology; a brilliant form I hope more anthologies will adopt.

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Published in December 2015, no. 377
Cassandra Atherton

Cassandra Atherton

Cassandra Atherton is a poet and scholar.  She is a Harvard Visiting Fellow in English in 2015-2016.

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