The Bookcase Project – Book 4: The Paris Review Book for Planes, Trains, Elevators and Waiting Rooms

Book 4: The Paris Review Book for Planes, Trains, Elevators and Waiting Rooms

Anthology, Picador Original, 2004

I know, what a title! And it isn’t even the longest title that The Paris Review has had either. This book is a damn fine read. Separated into sections for, you guessed it, the most common waiting places we know, and all the pieces in each section are suited to how long you generally have to wait in these particular places. For example, in the ‘lift’ section, sorry, ‘elevator’ section, its poetry, in the ‘waiting room’ section there are some chunky short story treats. It collects some of the finest work published in The Paris Review since 1953. Now, as with the book I previously reviewed, this has some insanely brilliant writers who I knew about before I picked it up, alongside some insanely brilliant writers I didn’t know before picking this off my bookcase and blowing away the dust. Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, Philip Larkin and Jim Carrol have their words alongside (writers I hadn’t previously read) Ethan Canin, Ben Sonnenberg, Yiyun Li and Edward P Jones to name but a few. A lot of the stories and poems in this anthology are rich, like the chocolate mousse you get in a fancy restaurant, that you know you shouldn’t finish but it tastes so good that you need to scrape the bowl. Some take your head and screw with it. Some turn you upside down and make you live like that for a wee while. Discover this anthology for yourself and fill those idle hours when you are in the Dr’s waiting room for much, MUCH longer than you should be or standing/crouching on an insanely slow- shit smelling-packed to the roof Virgin train from London to Aberdeen or something.