Before founding editor George Plimptonís untimely death, The Paris Review, a singular literary magazine, published a 50-year celebratory anthology, The Paris Review Book of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Baseball, Travels, The Art of Writing, and Everything Else in the World Since 1953. This anthology was so well received that Picador created a second volume in the Paris Review Book series, this one for those spare moments when waiting for a train, plane, elevator, etc., when the avid reader might steal a moment of mental nourishment.
Using the same premise and a variety of authors such as Alice Munro, V.S. Naipaul, William S. Borroughs, Philip Roth, and other luminaries who have graced the pages of the Paris Review over the years, the editors have put together another unique grouping of talent, guaranteed to please the most discerning reader.
Whether tucked into a briefcase or kept in the car, this latest Paris Review effort overflows with stimulating short stories, poetry, even a novella. The selections are stimulating, carefully chosen and broken into appropriate categories for each venue: planes, trains, elevators and waiting rooms.
Being a waiting-room aficionado, I found enough variety to render me indecisive, reduced to picking favorite authors before experimenting with less familiar writers. I wasnít disappointed; instead, the stories piqued my curiosity, and I began a list of authors to pursue when actually indulging in a few greedy hours of uninterrupted reading.
Plimpton was onto something with the Paris Review, a fresh arena for promising writers and a series on incisive interviews that allows the writers to expand their thoughts on the writing process. Certainly the Paris Review anthologies are a logical extension of the magazine. This anthology is a perfect companion for filling quiet moments with a literary feast that can be enjoyed in increments.
The task for the editors now is to maintain the unique quality of Plimptonís editorial oversight. If the Paris Review Book for Planes, Trains, Elevators and Waiting Rooms is any indication, Plimptonís spirit is guiding the editorís choices, no doubt smiling upon this latest courageous effort.