Nicole Krauss's short story 'The Young Painters' finally appeared in last week's New Yorker. In her '20 Under 40 Fiction Q&A', Krauss explained the story's inception and inspiration-- a painting, a film, the concept of writers' guilt, a suicide, a murder, and a shared interest in Krzysztof Kieślowski and Albert Camus. GOOD, something dark. I need something dark.
Krauss writes 'The Young Painters' with a seemingly clear narrative but releases nothing to the reader in terms of understanding. She slips us words that aren't overreaching and that yield to cleverness, but then exits the story quickly and with gusto. Pure trickery. She's the girl at a party who can deliver a perfect joke with deadpan seriousness, then turn on her heels after a brief pause, and walk away with a wake of laughter and envy trailing behind her.
I've been seeking writing like this lately-- easy, smart, raw. Writing that rises to greet you and doesn't apologize for its simple state. You see, it cut can you that way without warning. Jump out at you without airs. And good news, New York. 'The Young Painters' is actually an excerpt from Krauss's new novel, 'Great House' that will be published in October. Finally.