Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


He might not have the high pop-culture profile of Michael Crichton, that other bestselling writer who attended Harvard Medical School, but 36-year-old Ethan Canin — author of The Palace Thief, a 1994 book of novellas — is among the country’s most acclaimed fiction writers. While at work on his second novel, Canin found time last year to edit a book of stories, with proceeds to benefit the national anti-hunger group Share Our Strength. The anthology, Writers Harvest 2 (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1996), includes works by Julia Alvarez and Melanie Rae Thon. We asked Canin what’s caught his eye lately. Here’s what he said about the film Shine:

“It’s about a young, brilliant pianist with mental illness, and as I was watching it (and listening to it), I was overcome with the sense of the angel of music — this graceful thing that touches down now and then on earth and produces such a soul-cracking gift. That’s how I felt listening — that my soul had been cracked open.”

Also recommended by Canin:

Legends of the Fall (New York: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1994) by Jim Harrison. “What I love about Harrison’s work is the absolutely arresting rhythm of the language, the long comma-less sentences that seem to speak themselves out loud as you read. He’s one of the writers I read when I want to be inspired to write.”

The Night in Question (New York: Knopf, 1996) by Tobias Wolff. “His books are very readable, which sounds like a pale compliment but in fact is a huge compliment. I like his stories about childhood particularly, the sense of a kid who is just a little desperate, just a little ragged, just a little bit outside the shining light.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate