Professor Ben Marcus Publishes New Story Collection, 'Notes From the Fog'

September 25, 2018

Headshot of Ben MarcusWriting Professor Ben Marcus released his latest story collection, Notes From the Fog (Knopf, 2018), to stellar critical reviews in the New York Times, Harper’s, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Described as “poetically surreal” and “woundingly funny,” by author and New York Times critic Jeff Giles, Notes From the Fog features thirteen stories that take a sardonic, satirical perspective on society, marriage, parenthood, employment, and technology.


Giles wrote, “Notes From the Fog has moments of humanity and grace, but the darkness weighs on you more and more as you read. It’s as if each story, however inventive, is a stone that Marcus is asking you to carry...His sentences deserve to be lingered over, and his unsettling vision requires recovery time.”


Lidijia Haas of Harper’s described Marcus’s collection as one that delves into “domestic dramas,” while also presenting scenarios such as “a gently apocalyptic picture of mass surveillance, medical experimentation, and ecological collapse, taking its sardonic view of family life—self-deluding cruelty and embarrassing neediness and all—along for the ride.”


Notes From the Fog book coverAustin Adams of the Los Angeles Review of Books called Marcus “a writer and champion of audacious, inventive prose…”


In an interview with The New Yorker, Marcus discussed Notes From the Fog (which was forthcoming at the time), describing a universe where, “Sex is not so sexy. Drugs are sprayed into a public space to assist people’s feelings. Solitude is sought and then resented when it comes. A lot goes unsaid, unthought, unfelt, and awareness of this comes suddenly and with discomfort. Pretty basic stuff, in the end.”

Marcus is the author of two novels, Notable American Women (2002) and The Flame Alphabet (2012), two short story collections, The Age of Wire and String (1995) and Leaving the Sea (2014), and the novella, The Father Costume (2002). He has received a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Berlin Prize, and a Guggenheim Award. At Columbia, he teaches graduate-level fiction seminars and workshops.


His new collection can be purchased here. Marcus will also be reading at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY, on Thursday, September 27th, at 7:30pm, and will be in conversation with Creative Writing Assistant Professor Rivka Galchen.