The Paris Review

Misplaced Logic: An Interview with Joanna Ruocco

Hilarious, possibly impervious, Joanna Ruocco is, of all the writers I know, the one who writes most purely in order to write—or so I’ve always imagined. I’ve long wanted to ask her about the impetus behind her wonderfully weird assortment of prose, so when I learned she has five books coming out this year—two last month alone—each utterly different from the others, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

The Week is a collection of stories that could be the offspring of Padgett Powell’s and Thomas Bernhard’s comic shorter works. From “Paparazzi”: “It is best to be a mediocre person, a person that can be easily replaced. In the succession of generations, there will be many people who think and do what you think and do, and who inspire the same kinds of feelings in other people that you yourself inspire in other people, and you know that it works the other way too, that before you were born there were people who thought and did what you think and do, with adjustments made for available technologies and prevailing opinions.”

The Whitmire Case, a novella-length chapbook, is a comic/surrealist detective story about a young woman who “resembles, in form, in spirit, nothing so much as a sourdough starter,” whom one day everyone suddenly fails to recognize. Another chapbook, The Lune no. 12, extracts “The Boghole & the Beldame,” a lyrical account of a witch (I think?) that reads more like an immersive poem.

The novel Field GlassA Thousand PlateausField Glass 

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review3 min read
Redux: In Memoriam, Susannah Hunnewell
Susannah Hunnewell in 2017, at the magazine’s Spring Revel. Courtesy of The Paris Review. The Paris Review is mourning the loss of our publisher and friend, Susannah Hunnewell. Over the course of her long affiliation with the magazine—she began as an
The Paris Review3 min read
Farewell Generous, Salty Susannah
The Paris Review is mourning the loss of our publisher Susannah Hunnewell, who died this past weekend at her home in New York at the age of fifty-two. Her contributions to the magazine were immeasurable. You can read our more formal obituary here, an
The Paris Review2 min read
Mystical, Squishy, Distinctly Unsettling
A list of words that could describe Hyman Bloom’s work: loud, abstract, mystical, colorful, squishy, fleshy, grotesque, distinctly unsettling. But Bloom aimed to communicate beyond language. When thirteen of his paintings appeared in a group show at