Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story 2

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9780156013680: Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story 2

The literary journal Zoetrope, founded in 1997 by film director Francis Ford Coppola, proved an instant and spectacular success with readers and critics nationwide. Its stories have garnered awards from such publications as Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Award Prize Stories, and many more. And it won a National Magazine Award for fiction in 2001--the youngest magazine ever to do so.
A sequel to the successful first volume, this collection presents some of the best writing to have appeared in the magazine in the last two years, including stories and essays by Jennifer Egan, Pinckney Benedict, Peter Greenaway, Rick Moody, Francine Prose, and Toure, among others. In addition, two never-before-published stories commissioned exclusively for this volume appear here: one by Rick Bass and the other by Alicia Erian. The result is an exciting and vital collection, a must-have for readers of today's best writing.

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Review:

In his introduction to Zoetrope: All-Story, Francis Ford Coppola explains exactly what possessed him to start a literary magazine. Emphasizing what should be an obvious point--a good movie requires a good story--the acclaimed director laments the lowbrow sensibility of motion-picture studios, pointing out that "none of them that I know of devote serious resources to the cultivation of literary work." Hollywood has a hallowed tradition of slapping together screenplays based on flimsy pitches ("It's like Babe meets Angela's Ashes"). In contrast, Coppola has his own humble request for "good writing, good characters, and intriguing stories that spellbind us, but also teach us about life."

The collection opens with Sara Powers's captivating story about commitment and doubt, in which a sporting couple agrees to experiment with selective lying (at the rate of three falsehoods per conversation). Amy Bloom's "The Gates Are Closing" is a vivid, funny, and typically touching story about a woman having an affair with her synagogue president's ailing husband. Still, the most amusing tale--and the one that may resonate loudest with struggling writers--is "Thinning the Herd." In Peter Lefcourt's comic fantasia, the narrator interviews one Warren David Warren (a.k.a. "Son of Shakespeare"), a self-proclaimed "revisionist literary Darwinian" who slaughters authors whose work he finds abominable. Defending the murder of a prolific bestselling scribe, Warren makes his case: "He kept spewing them out. Like rabbit turds. Who did he think he was--Trollope?" There may in fact be a glut of writers. But within the boundaries of this collection, at least, their stories are superb--and many of them would make great cinema. --Brangien Davis

From the Publisher:

Praise for Zoetrope

Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope has had a tremendous impact on the nearly anonymous short-story format. (The New York Times)

Zoetrope, dedicated exclusively to the short story-from which Melissa Bank, among others, was launched-has affirmed the new glamour of short fiction. (The New York Observer)

Since its inception, the buzz around Zoetrope has been continuous and loud . . . the magazine has received extensive media coverage and has achieved one of the highest circulations of any literary journal in the country. (Poets & Writers

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