Peter Gordon Stories.com

Peter Gordon is a graduate of Yale whose short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, The New Yorker, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. His work has been anthologised, awarded a Pushcart Prize and cited in The Best American Short Stories series. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.


Short Story Collections

Man Receives a Letter
(Red Hen Press, 2009)

reviewed by Sarah Hilary

Interview with Peter Gordon

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Peter Gordon: Most of the stories in the collection were written over a five year period. A couple of the stories were previously published over a decade ago but were extensively revised.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

PG: No. But as I began to put together the collection, it was pretty clear that most of the stories I’ve written – and certainly the ones I thought would best cohere as part of a unified collection – reflected similar themes.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

PG: I considered over 30 published stories, and a few unpublished ones, for the collection. My biggest goal was to create a book where the sum total adds up to something bigger than each part. It’s like climbing a hill one step at a time with each step affording a different view, and then reaching the top and looking back at something that surprises you. I left out many stories that I’m very attached to but that just didn’t make thematic sense as part of the collection. As for the order, I fiddled around with that quite a bit, and ultimately ordered the stories based largely on my own sense of natural progression as well as suggestions from the publisher. 

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

PG:  It means going on a journey, however brief, propelled by people, ideas and language that give you a fresh glimpse of what it means to be human.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

PG:  The only reader I have in mind is someone who is open to the experience of reading serious fiction, in whatever mode or style that experience is delivered.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

PG: Do you ever think about the stories – perhaps one story, or even one image – that relates in some way to the particular circumstances of your own life?

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

PG: It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling. I love thinking about the fact that the book is out there in different places and in the hands of different people.

TSR: What are you working on now?

PG: I’m working on a cycle of new stories that are designed to ultimately add up to a collection.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

PGIrish Girl, by Tim Johnston. If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, by Robin Black. Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing, by Lydia Peelle. I enjoyed them all.
 
                     
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Find out what other authors, from Aimee Bender to Sana Krasikov, said about their collections, what the word "story" means to them, and how it feels to know that people are buying your books! More interviews >>>



Other Interviews:

Read: Glimmer Train