You searched for 2012/01/13/from-the-deep-by-anthony-doerr | Numéro Cinq

Jul 182017
 

You can be a flâneur on Numéro Cinq, sauntering, loitering, browsing the archives, the contents pages, the back issues page. Now and then, I check the stats. They don’t change a lot at the top for the obvious reason that newer pieces just haven’t had time to catch up. Something published last month won’t be there. But over time, items with a consistently high hit rate rise through the ranks. Recently Anthony Doerr and Paul Curtis moved into the Top Twenty. Also my sons Jonah and Jacob — who’d have thought nepotism would work so well? The vagaries of hit rates and search engine terms are mysterious. I only have the brute stats provided by WordPress to go on. But certain things seem clear. Our What It’s Like Living Here series has always been extremely popular. This is a human thing. We like our nests, we like the local. These are very simple essays but utterly appealing. Pat Keane and Bruce Stone both have two texts in the Top Twenty, which shows that quality and consistency do win out. A. Anupama has a translation and classical Indian poetry constituency that happens to be very large and welcome. And the startling originality and visual panache of Anna Maria Johnson’s essay on Annie Dillard has always pulled in readers.

I am copying a second list  below the Top Twenty. It’s the top twenty for the last three months. Interesting to compare.

All Time Top Twenty

  1. What It’s Like Living Here — Richard Farrell in San Diego
  2. Translations of Classical Tamil Love Poetry: Essay & Poems — A. Anupama
  3. The Senses of an Ending: The Grapes of Wrath, Novel and Film — Patrick J. Keane
  4. A Visual Approach to Syntactical and Image Patterns in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: Essay & Images — Anna Maria Johnson
  5. From “The Deep”: Fiction — Anthony Doerr
  6. What It’s Like Living Here — From Lisa Roney in Orlando
  7. What It’s Like Living Here — Wendy Voorsanger in San Mateo
  8. Nabokov’s Exoneration: The Genesis and Genius of Lolita — Bruce Stone
  9. 7 Things I Learned from Reading 15 List Essays — John Proctor
  10. What It’s Like Living Here — Michelle Berry in Peterborough, Ontario
  11. The Consecution of Gordon Lish: An Essay on Form and Influence — Jason Lucarelli
  12. Montaigne On Experience & Defecation: Essay — Jacob Glover
  13. What It’s Like Living Here — Kim Aubrey in Saskatoon
  14. Translation, Adaptation and Transformation: The Poet as Translator — Richard Jackson
  15. Revisiting Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet — Paul M. Curtis
  16. The Formalist Reformation | Review of Viktor Shklovsky’s Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar — Bruce Stone
  17. What It’s Like Living Here — Gwen Mullins in Chattanooga
  18. Talking to a 17-Year-Old Girl, When You are a 16-Year-Old Boy: Micro-Memoir — Jonah Glover
  19. Let Us Be Silent Here: Poems in English and Spanish — John B. Lee/Manuel de Jesus Velázquez Léon
  20. On Looking Into and Beyond Wordsworth’s Daffodils: An Intrinsic and Contextual Reading | Patrick J. Keane

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Last Three Months Top Twenty

  1. From “The Deep”: Fiction — Anthony Doerr
  2. Translations of Classical Tamil Love Poetry: Essay & Poems — A. Anupama
  3. From Roses by Rainer Maria Rilke — Translated by David Need
  4. Uimhir a Cúig | Dunamon: Poems — Jane Clarke
  5. I am the big heart | Poems — S. E. Venart
  6. Revisiting Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet — Paul M. Curtis
  7. The Senses of an Ending: The Grapes of Wrath, Novel and Film — Patrick J. Keane
  8. Hot: Short Story — Adrienne Love
  9. Plot Structure in Three Short Stories | Essay on Conflict and Form — Michael Carson
  10. Through leaded panes | Memoir — Dawn Promislow
  11. Research for the Larger Project | Poems — Maggie Smith
  12. Painter & Poet: Studies in Creativity — Victoria Best with Miranda Boulton & Kaddy Benyon
  13. Portland | Fiction — Gary Garvin
  14. What It’s Like Living Here — Michelle Berry in Peterborough, Ontario
  15. Nabokov’s Exoneration: The Genesis and Genius of Lolita — Bruce Stone
  16. What It’s Like Living Here — Richard Farrell in San Diego, CA
  17. Numéro Cinq at the Movies: Tom Tykwer’s “Faubourg Saint-Denis,” Introduced by R. W. Gray
  18. How Swiss Is It? | Review of Walks with Robert Walser by Carl Seelig — Dorian Stuber
  19. 7 Things I Learned from Reading 15 List Essays — John Proctor
  20. Leconte de Lisle’s Les Roses d’Ispahan | Translation & Performance — Marilyn McCabe

2012

 

Vol. III, No. 12, December 2012

Vol. III, No. 11, November 2012

Vol. III, No. 10, October 2012

Vol. III, No. 9, September  2012

Vol. III, No. 8, August 2012

Vol. III, No. 7, July  2012

Vol. III, No. 6, June 2012

Vol. III, No. 5, May 2012

Vol. III, No. 4, April 2012

Vol. III, No. 3, March 2012

Vol. III, No. 2, February 2012

Vol. III, No. 1, January 2012

Jan 132012
 

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Herewith, an excerpt from Anthony Doerr’s award-winning short story, “The Deep.”  Recipient of the prestigious Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award in 2011, “The Deep” is included in the paperback edition of Doerr’s 2010 Story Prize winning  collection Memory Wall.

Born with a heart defect in the early days of last century, Tom is told he will not live past the age of eighteen. His concerned mother protects him at every turn. ‘Go slow’ his mother says. But Tom discovers life in the midst of fainting spells and industrial collapse, falling in love with the beautiful, red-haired Ruby Hornaday, a girl who dreams of diving on the ocean floors. Set against the salt mines of Depression era Detroit, the reader is transported in time and space in this heartbreaking story of love, hardship and the irrepressible human spirit.

Listen to a reading of “The Deep” by the actor Damian Lewis at the 2011 Oxford Literary Festival.  Read an Richard Farrell’s interview of Anthony Doerr on Numéro Cinq.

—Richard Farrell

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 From “The Deep”

Tom is born in 1914 in Detroit, a quarter mile from International Salt. His father is offstage, unaccounted for. His mother operates a six-room, underinsulated boardinghouse populated with locked doors, behind which drowse the grim possessions of itinerant salt workers: coats the colors of mice, tattered mucking boots, aquatints of undressed women, their breasts faded orange. Every six months a miner is laid off, gets drafted, or dies, and is replaced by another, so that very early in his life Tom comes to see how the world continually drains itself of young men, leaving behind only objects—empty tobacco pouches, bladeless jackknives, salt-caked trousers—mute, incapable of memory.

Tom is four when he starts fainting. He’ll be rounding a corner, breathing hard, and the lights will go out. Mother will carry him indoors, set him on the armchair, and send someone for the doctor.

Atrial septal defect. Hole in the heart. The doctor says blood sloshes from the left side to the right side. His heart will have to do three times the work. Lifespan of sixteen. Eighteen if he’s lucky. Best if he doesn’t get excited.

Mother trains her voice into a whisper. Here you go, there you are, sweet little Tomcat. She moves Tom’s cot into an upstairs closet—no bright lights, no loud noises. Mornings she serves him a glass of buttermilk, then points him to the brooms or steel wool. Go slow,she’ll murmur. He scrubs the coal stove, sweeps the marble stoop. Every so often he peers up from his work and watches the face of the oldest boarder, Mr. Weems, as he troops downstairs, a fifty-year-old man hooded against the cold, off to descend in an elevator a thousand feet underground. Tom imagines his descent, sporadic and dim lights passing and receding, cables rattling, a half dozen other miners squeezed into the cage beside him, each thinking his own thoughts, men’s thoughts, sinking down into that city beneath the city where mules stand waiting and oil lamps burn in the walls and glittering rooms of salt recede into vast arcades beyond the farthest reaches of the light.

Sixteen, thinks Tom. Eighteen if I’m lucky.

—Anthony Doerr

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