The eighth issue of McSweeney's, which came out last weekend, is beguiling, bighearted, and as beautifully constructed as a newly born bird. We're not sure what we mean by that, though we're convinced it's a fitting description, not least because across its cover is a glorious depiction of a seagull. The Nightstand has long been fascinated by the question of how birds achieve flight and, moreover, how they maintain it, and those same questions seem relevant to the enterprise of McSwy's (that's the official abbrev.). The current issue, says general McSwy's editor Dave Eggers, is "one of the very best." He can say that because he had nothing to do with it; longtime McSwy's contributor Paul Maliszewski guest edited. . . .
Eggers has continued to receive plenty of attention of late, though "attention" doesn't exactly capture the spirit of the critical fellatio performed on him recently by the San Francisco Chronicle, which called him "one of the brightest writing stars in the literary firmament." (That newspaper is, of course, itself a vortex of clich鳮) We love how they slipped it in so casually—Polaris, the sun, Dave Eggers. . . .
Eggers has two books coming out in the next two months. The Best American Non-Required Reading 2002, which he edited, will resemble all those other Best American books (populist, irritating, and usually really good) except it will target people under 25 and, of course, its inaugural edition will carry the cachet of having been put together by a self-luminous celestial mass. Eggers has selected 22 stories for Non-Required Reading, including one by Camden Joy that first appeared in a local magazine, Little Engines. Adam Voith, who is the editor of Little Engines and a resident of Ballard, had no comment on Eggers' celestial properties, though he did say by phone last week that he thinks Dave Eggers is "rad."
Though the San Francisco Chronicle lost itself in a triumphant deluge of sycophantic spooge—the aforementioned godforsaken article concluded by naming Eggers "the crown prince of postmodern literature"—we predict that the October release of Eggers' second full-length book will trigger a calamitous critical backlash, something on the scale of a once-bright, many-splendored galaxy loudly collapsing in on itself. Eggers' story in The New Yorker two weeks ago was, to our mind, monotonous, plodding, and unreadable—and was there something about it that seemed smug? That story, we report with both dread and a strange sense of fulfillment (we care not for authorial smuggery), was excerpted from the forthcoming book—which, by that indication alone, let us be the first to say, is likely to blow.