Allegra Goodman’s “La Vita Nuova”

Every year I look forward to when the new Best American Short Stories comes into the library, and this year’s volume, edited by novelist Geraldine Brooks, did not disappoint. One story in particular, Allegra Goodman’s “La Vita Nuova,” first published in The New Yorker (and available online), has stayed with me, mostly because of the strength of the voice, which Goodman writes is “spare” and “wry.”

I’ve always believed that consciously mimicking the style of other writers is one of the best ways to find our own voice, to try on new literary wardrobes, to see what fits, what looks good in a certain light, what we could never pull off in a million years. It’s a practice I hope never to outgrow.

[Note: Read the Flash Narrative inspired by “La Vita Nuova”: “Feathers and Horses“.]

1 thought on “Allegra Goodman’s “La Vita Nuova”

  1. Trying on “literary wardrobes.” I love that. And, I love these flash narratives. This line says so much:
    The boys didn’t say a word but ate two pieces each of plum pie and wipes their mouths with the shoulder straps of their overalls.
    Such simple gestures that give me a strong image of them. I’m so glad you keep writing these.

    And, I’ve been wanting to read Allegra Goodman’s novel, The Cookbook Collector, for a while. Your mention of her short story brings that book to the forefront of my mind again.

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