John McPhee has a new book of essays. Need I say more?
Silk Parachute (FSG), McPhee’s new collection of nine essays, most of which has appeared in some form in the New Yorker, does appear to operate with a wider purview. If I were susceptible to certain pretentious locutions, I would be tempted to call McPhee’s expanded vision meta-meditative.
The title essay, appearing in the New Yorker in 1997, is a sweet tribute to his mother, while the remaining eight are referential to his life and times at the New Yorkerwhere you learn legendary editor William Shawn had a lead palate, preferring to eat corn flakes as dinner entrees (My Life’s List). Or there is my favorite, Checkpoints, which profiles the famed New Yorker fact-checking department. And for those interested in encountering the rising popularity of lacrosse (at least in the leafy suburbs of the northeast), a vivid and explicative piece on that sport: Spin Right and Shoot Left.
McPhee, a pioneer of so-called New Journalism and Creative Non-Fiction before it was called Creative Non-Fiction, has published 28 books. Take your choice.