The New Writer: Jonathan Durbin Nominated by André Aciman

The New Writer: Jonathan Durbin Nominated by André Aciman

Author to the captivating short story "Sisters", Jonathan Durbin is the wordsmith to keep on your radars.

Author to the captivating short story "Sisters", Jonathan Durbin is the wordsmith to keep on your radars.

Photography: Heather Hazzan

Styling: Yuiko Ikebata

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

As the Discovery Issue, V117 features our cast of the latest and greatest ahead, as nominated by the cultural forces of now. This feature appears in the pages of V117, our Spring Preview 2019 issue, on newsstands today!

What the short story “Sisters”—which follows a group of mysteriously ill girls and their male svengali who, in impoverished Brooklyn, rations precious antihistamines—lacks in word count, it makes up for in layers. Author Jonathan Durbin eerily merges the grotesque with traces of the everyday, like dying iPhones or Beyoncé T-shirts (the latter is worn by a cannibal) for prose that transports but, unlike mentor André Aciman’s, is rarely escapist. It all starts, he says, with lived experience. Now at work on a novel, he rents a studio to read work aloud, practicing a self-intimacy he says fiction lacks today. “I need to have a personal relationship to [a story],” he says. “Lately people seem to write what they want to know rather than what they know.”

Durbin wears suit Brioni, sweater Michael Kors

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