There’s sex, love, and betrayal in the Fall Paris Review. Prepare to be seduced.

by Naomi Kirsten

A few years into the millennium, we attended a party at the Paris Review. It was at founding editor George Plimpton’s townhouse on the Upper East Side, where the magazine’s headquarters also resided. The lights were dim—the rooms seemed to glow with a red hue. Large windows looked out languidly onto a dark street that had long given up on fall. By the night’s end, Kurt Vonnegut asked our friend what she was doing after the party—twice—and we couldn’t tell if he remembered that he’d asked earlier, or if the question was some sort of existential experiment. Maybe it was the “Paris” of the Review’s past or the poetry in its pages or Vonnegut’s (possibly) roving eye, but we left the party—not in love—but feeling somehow seduced. It was the literary at its vaguely lurid, and it was lurid because it was alive.

The Paris Review enticed again Wednesday night when new editor Lorin Stein swung by City Lights for Litquake as part of his cross-country whistle-stop tour. The 37-year-old Stein arrives at the 57-year old journal via Farrar, Straus and Giroux where he has edited the literary likes of Jonathan Franzen, Richard Price, and Denis Johnson. He also translated Gregoire Bouillier’s The Mystery Guest.