McSweeney's #5 MAGAZINE/BOOK review [David Eggers]

Book Reviews
McSweeney's #5 MAGAZINE/BOOK review [David Eggers]
Dec 15, 2001, 04:36

MCSWEENEY'S MAGAZINE Issue No. 5 published and edited by David Eggers, 2001

While it's true that David Eggers deserves at least some of the animosity he draws from young writers and dilettantes, you've got to admit that some of the griping can be attributed to envy. I mean, come on. Not only did the guy make his own personal tragedy one of the most (perhaps unjustly) celebrated literary events of the year 2000, but he's created this intensely hip, smooth, stylish, and often very good little journal. McSweeney's for all of its pretense, just happens to publish some of the most interesting writing around. Take this issue, for example. While it's nowhere near as cool as the last (the one that came out in a box with each article stapled like an individual leaflet), it's still got some outstanding stuff. Four different, really attractive covers, articles by Lawrence Weschler—possibly the best non-fiction author out there—brilliant lampoons of Donald Barthelme stories (thank you Paul Maliszewski), fold-out illustrations...I mean, this is one slick pub. It's impressive what some free time, well-connected friends, hard work, and cold cash can do. Eggers, as grating as he can be, keeps his chatter to a minimum and just designs, holds court on the company Web site, and calmly publishes dialogues about life on Mars, interviews with Ted Kopple, and letters to CEOs from the point of view of Irish Setters. I admit I'm jealous. It seems as though Eggers is having a lot of fun, not to mention doing quite well and creating a venue for some pretty excellent stuff. If you haven't read McSweeney's, check it out. Ignore pretense and stow your righteous anger. It's a great journal.

-Jason Cons

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