Benjamin Kunkel

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Benjamin Kunkel (born December 14, 1972, in Colorado) is an American novelist. He co-founded and is a co-editor of the journal n+1. His novel, Indecision, was published in 2005.

Background and education[edit]

Kunkel grew up in Eagle, Colorado, and was educated at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire; Kunkel studied at Deep Springs College in California, graduated with a BA from Harvard University, and received his MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University.

Career[edit]

In addition to regularly writing for The New York Times, Kunkel has written for the magazines Dissent, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, The Believer, and The New Yorker.

Indecision[edit]

Indecision, published by Random House, garnered a fair amount of attention.[citation needed] On the cover of the New York Times Book Review (unusual for a first novel)[citation needed], Jay McInerney dubbed it "the funniest and smartest coming-of-age novel in years," but only after Michiko Kakutani's odd, ambiguous review written completely in the voice of Holden Caulfield. Publishers Weekly, in contrast, described the novel as "annoying but accomplished."[citation needed]

In an interview on NPR, Kunkel was asked if he was articulating a generational problem with the novel. He responded[citation needed]

Well, it's obviously not an affliction for everybody in the world, it's only a small segment of the world. But I think for a number of people of my generation, there's been an explosion of freedom without any sort of similar capacity to handle the opportunities that spread themselves before us.

Indecision begins with the acknowledgment, "For n+1." Kunkel has written two short stories and one book review for the print journal he started with friends from college and graduate school. In the Fall 2004 issue, he published the short story "Horse Mountain," about an aging man. In the Spring 2005 issue, he published a review of J.M. Coetzee's works, imitating Coetzee's recent novel Elizabeth Costello. In the Fall 2005 issue, he published a short story "Or Things I Did Not Do or Say," about a man determined to kill another man.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kelly, Adam. "From Syndrome to Sincerity: Benjamin Kunkel's Indecision." Diseases and Disorders in Contemporary Fiction: The Syndrome Syndrome. Ed. Timothy Lustig and James Peacock. London: Routledge, 2013. 53-66.
  • Sauri, Emilio. "Cognitive Mapping, Then and Now: Postmodernism, Indecision, and American Literary Globalism." Twentieth-Century Literature 57.3 (Fall/Winter 2011): 472-91.

External links[edit]

Writings and interviews[edit]

Archives of his articles for other magazines

Reviews

Interviews and reading

Writings featured in n+1