¿Quién es Joe Meno?
Joe who? se pregunta el blog The Paper Cuts al reseñar el muy prestigioso Story Prize de este año, que tuvo como finalistas a Tobias Wolff, Jhumpa Lahiri y el desconocido Joe Meno. Al final el premio fue a dar a Wolff y su colección de relatos Our Story Begins pero la pregunta sigue dando vueltas: ¿Quién es ese Meno que terminó compartiendo honores ni más ni menos que con dos monstruos del género corto como Wolff y Lahiri? Gregory Cowles responde su propia pregunta y lo declara como an indie filmmaker competing for best picture against the big Hollywood studios. Ojo que a veces, aunque solo a veces, esas películas dan el golpe. Habrá que seguir la trayectoria de este Meno.
Joe who? you’re asking.
Wolff and Lahiri are household names, to the extent any writer can be, but despite six books and inclusion in the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” program, Meno remains something of a cult phenomenon: a Chicago kid who hangs out with artists and musicians and who used to write a column for Punk Planet magazine. At the Story Prize ceremony, he was like an indie filmmaker competing for best picture against the big Hollywood studios: “Demons in the Spring,” his nominated collection, was published by the small press Akashic Books (as opposed to Knopf for Lahiri’s and Wolff’s), and “Frances the Ghost,” the story he read, originally appeared in TriQuarterly (as opposed to The New Yorker for Lahiri’s and Wolff’s). His odds, in other words, weren’t great.
But he had a blast. “Honestly,” he said in a telephone interview a few days later, “just sharing the stage with those two was a high point in my career.” During the Q. and A. with Dark after his reading, Meno offered some feisty, thoughtful opinions about the state of publishing, and praised Akashic for allowing him such control over his book, down to font selection and the paper that lines the inside covers. “I wanted it to be an art object,” he explained. “I really saw it as the anti-Kindle.” When Dark asked him about the book’s illustrations — by 20 different artists and designers — Meno said that he had learned a lot from visual artists and sometimes preferred their company to that of writers. “They’re not as lugubrious or brooding,” he said. “They don’t talk about the work in progress, they just do it.”