Scenes From the Forthcoming East Coast-West Coast Literary War


What do the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand have in common with a New Republic piece written by Marc Tracy? Hopefully nothing, but the title, “The L.A. Review of Books Declares War on the N.Y. Review of Books,” suggests that the piece could be the earliest document of a literary war between the coasts that will rival the Tupac and Biggie feud of the 1990s.

Since we at Flavorwire are peaceful East Coast citizens who love taking trips out to California without fearing any type of bodily harm, we present this timeline as a cautionary tale of what might happen if what Tracy perceives as aggression on the part of the scrappy upstart Los Angeles Review of Books against the venerable New York Review of Books escalates.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NYRB co-founder and editor Robert “Bob” Silvers issues a short rebuttal to LARB Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Tom Lutz’s comments: “Steampunk homage? Gimme a break, Junior. Publish Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, John Berryman, Truman Capote, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin, Dwight Macdonald, Norman Mailer, Mary McCarthy, and like, everybody else before you go comparing yourself to me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to fly out to your hometown to get cocktails with Joan Didion.”

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Silvers is hit by five eggs while walking out of a Los Angeles bar after getting cocktails with Didion. The eggs are thrown out of an unidentified black SUV, and the perpetrators are never found. Tom Lutz denies being the assailant to several friends, but does so with a sly smile and a wink.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A letter arrives on the doorstep of Brooklyn-born and -raised author Jonathan Lethem, who is the current Disney Professor of Writing at Pomona College in Claremont, California, demanding he get on the first plane back to New York for an emergency meeting of the most important New York literary celebrities, 15 of whom are named Jonathan. Lethem looks up at the sunny California sky and thinks of how bad New York smells in the summer. He smiles, crumples up the letter, and becomes the first defector in the East Coast-West Coast Literary War.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A letter is printed in the New York Times Sunday Review that is signed by the other 14 important New York literary figures named Jonathan, as well as other well-known writers like Salman Rushdie, Lydia Davis, Nicole Krauss, Tom Wolfe, and others. The letter says that the signees will not set foot in Los Angeles unless an apology is issued by the LARB people for the egging of Robert Silvers.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gary Shteyngart tweets, “I love LA! What’s not to love?” with a picture of a dachshund wearing a Dodgers hat, in an attempt to deflect criticism for not signing the letter. Within 24 hours, Shteyngart is exiled to New Jersey, and ends up writing a humorous novel about a Russian-Jewish immigrant who is forced to live in a place he doesn’t want to be and how he adapts to it.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The son of a billionaire film producer raises $100,000 to launch a new literary journal called The Silver Lake Review. The magazine puts out its first issue in 72 hours, leading with an article named, “What was the New York Literary Scene?” that borrows a lot from various n+1 articles. The Silver Lake Review folds after one issue, and literary types spend the next 24 hours on Twitter subtweeting about where all the money went.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Paul Auster goes missing from his Brooklyn home. Nobody really cares since they all assume he’s going to write another memoir-type book. This is eventually found to be true, and Auster is found just hanging out in a Cobble Hill coffee shop.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The real Joan Didion actually joins Twitter to simply tweet, “New York is a cesspool.” Angry fans take to the streets to burn copies of Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Didion never tweets anything again.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A young and unpublished writer accosts Philip Roth on the streets of Manhattan to ask him his opinion on the matter, Roth replies with, “What the hell do I care? I’m retired from the game.”

Monday August 26, 2013

Zadie Smith flies in to Los Angeles International Airport. The British-born New York resident is considered something of an independent voice, and the New York literary community hopes she can bring peace to the warring coasts. Her friend Michael Chabon meets her at the airport.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Even though his own foray into Hollywood screenwriting was a flop, Chabon convinces Smith to stay in Los Angeles, where she can earn more money writing scripts. New Yorkers are dismayed at the loss of Zadie Smith, and the West Coast-East Coast Literary War looks like it will never end.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The West Coast-East Coast Literary War ends when book people find out that Lena Dunham signed another seven-figure book deal, to write a series of dystopian YA novels about hipsters in Brooklyn. They don’t have time to complain about two things at once, and the feud becomes old news.