The Paris Review

Misplaced Logic: An Interview with Joanna Ruocco

Hilarious, possibly impervious, Joanna Ruocco is, of all the writers I know, the one who writes most purely in order to write—or so I’ve always imagined. I’ve long wanted to ask her about the impetus behind her wonderfully weird assortment of prose, so when I learned she has five books coming out this year—two last month alone—each utterly different from the others, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

The Week is a collection of stories that could be the offspring of Padgett Powell’s and Thomas Bernhard’s comic shorter works. From “Paparazzi”: “It is best to be a mediocre person, a person that can be easily replaced. In the succession of generations, there will be many people who think and do what you think and do, and who inspire the same kinds of feelings in other people that you yourself inspire in other people, and you know that it works the other way too, that before you were born there were people who thought and did what you think and do, with adjustments made for available technologies and prevailing opinions.”

The Whitmire Case, a novella-length chapbook, is a comic/surrealist detective story about a young woman who “resembles, in form, in spirit, nothing so much as a sourdough starter,” whom one day everyone suddenly fails to recognize. Another chapbook, The Lune no. 12, extracts “The Boghole & the Beldame,” a lyrical account of a witch (I think?) that reads more like an immersive poem.

The novel Field GlassA Thousand PlateausField Glass 

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review10 min read
Queerness, Cyborgs, and Cephalopods: An Interview with Franny Choi
Franny Choi isn’t done thinking about cyborgs. When we met two weeks before the release of her latest collection Soft Science, she told me she was still discovering AI ideas she wished she could have addressed in her poems. Reckoning with the mytholo
The Paris Review4 min read
The Art of Doodling
“Everyone is a collector in one way or another,” the English-teacher-turned-art-dealer David Schulson would tell his children. “Everyone has the impulse to collect.” What Schulson didn’t say is that the impulse to collect often contains within it ano
The Paris Review9 min read
What Our Contributors Are Reading This Spring
Paul Beatty. Photo: Hannah Assouline. No American novelist riffs like Paul Beatty. His superlative novel Slumberland established his comic mastery years before he won the Man Booker Prize in 2016. Set in Berlin just before (and after) the fall of the