Episode 279 — Lee Klein

   
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Lee Klein is the guest. He has two books out this year. The first is called Thanks and Sorry and Good Luck, available now from Barrelhouse. The second, due out in August 2014, is called The Shimmering Go-Between (Atticus Books).

Blake Butler says

Somewhere on the brutal truth continuum between Bill Hicks and Mussolini, Lee Klein’s rejection letters are mini-masterpieces of literary criticism disguised as no-thank-yous from Writer’s Hell. And yet, in each, a little lesson; a steadfast faith that says ‘I took the time to read what you created and this is exactly what I thought.’ They should be passing these things out under the pillows at MFA camp; we’d all be better off.

And Elizabeth Ellen says

Lee Klein made me cry. He was the only editor ever to make me. This was back in 2002. I wish I still had the email. I remember it going something like, ‘whenever you have the instinct to write a line like that, delete it immediately, without prejudice.’ I hated him for a while. I pictured him looking like the guy in that 90’s movie Heavy (the one with Liv Tyler), except housebound and with no redeemable qualities. Then, somewhere around 2004, I met him ‘IRL’ and he was soft-spoken and sweet. It was harder to hate him after that. Reading all of these rejection letters here in this book made me finally fall a little in love with him, I think. I think if I had had access to (and disassociation from) these letters then, I might have fallen in love with him then. This is the funniest book I have read in a long time. It is also the smartest. I feel confused now, like I’m unsure whether to love or hate Lee Klein. But both of us are married now so it doesn’t really matter.

Monologue topics: analytics, paranoia, See’s Candies, death, parenthood, mortal fear.