Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Freeman’s: Arrival

The Best New Writing on Arrival

by John Freeman

A new anthology from renowned literary critic John Freeman, Freeman’s: Arrival features never before published stories by Haruki Murakami, Louise Erdrich, Dave Eggers, Etgar Keret, Lydia Davis, David Mitchell, and others.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 304
  • Publication Date October 06, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2441-8
  • Dimensions 5/5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

We live today in constant motion, traveling distances rapidly, small ones daily, arriving in new states. In this inaugural edition of Freeman’s, a new biannual of unpublished writing, former Granta editor and NBCC president John Freeman brings together the best new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about that electrifying moment when we arrive.

Strange encounters abound. David Mitchell meets a ghost in Hiroshima Prefecture; Lydia Davis recounts her travels in the exotic territory of the Norwegian language; and in a Dave Eggers story, an elderly gentleman cannot remember why he brought a fork to a wedding.

End points often turn out to be new beginnings. Louise Erdrich visits a Native American cemetery that celebrates the next journey, and in a Haruki Murakami story, an aging actor arrives back in his true self after performing a role, discovering he has changed, becoming a new person.

Featuring startling new fiction by Laura van den Berg, Helen Simpson, and Tahmima Anam, as well as stirring essays by Aleksandar Hemon, Barry Lopez, and Garnette Cadogan, who relearned how to walk while being black upon arriving in NYC, Freeman’s announces the arrival of an essential map to the best new writing in the world.


Freeman’s is fresh, provocative, engrossing.” —BBC.com, “Ten books to read in October”

“An illustrious new literary journal . . . The Freeman’s formula will be relatively familiar to Granta readers: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by new voices and literary heavyweights—Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Louise Erdrich—alike . . . Freeman doesn’t just include the work of unknown writers, he ‘smuggles’ them in among A-list talent. New voices—like that of the Sudanese-born writer Fatin Abbas, a portion of whose unpublished first novel appears in the issue—aren’t only important, they can ‘tell you things about existence that haven’t been put that way before.’” —Julia Felsenthal, Vogue.com

“With Freeman’s, John Freeman sets a new standard for literary journals . . . each issue is bound like a keepsake . . . Richly layered, ‘Drive My Car’ is Haruki Murakami at his best . . . ‘Garments,’ by Tahmima Anam is a poignant and heart-wrenching short story about Jesmin, a woman struggling to make ends meet working at a factory in the third world . . . Freeman’s . . . [is] a welcome addition to the ever-growing roster of publications out there today. It’s refreshing and full of nuanced stories that will linger with you long after you finish them. I can’t wait to see how this publication takes off.” —Abigail Sheaffer, Chicago Literati, 4/5 stars

“Something new is headed our way in the fall—a new periodical/anthology shaped into form by John Freeman. Here he has assembled & edited a collection of terrific authors who responded to the subject he put forward; Arrival. What a hypnotic set of stories, really linked excursions that have an inexplicable but perfect rightness to their placement within the confines of the cover so that something builds from beginning to end. Open it at page one and just read. An amazing collection of gifted writers. Call it what you will it is simply in its entirety a very good book.” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books

“It can safely be said that [John] Freeman is a guide whom a savvy subset of passionate readers trust. His plan for this new project is simple: Twice a year, he’ll present ‘a collection of writing grouped loosely around a theme.’ This first installment of poems, stories, and narrative nonfiction does not disappoint. There’s excellent work by literary luminaries and popular favorites—Lydia Davis and Haruki Murakami, Louise Erdrich and Dave Eggers—as well as work from writers who will be new to many. The geographic range represented here is impressive, with authors from such far-flung locales as Iceland, Sudan, and the West Bank. Freeman’s first theme is ‘arrival,’ and part of the pleasure of exploring this volume is discovering the various ways in which contributors interpret the concept . . . A diverse and diverting anthology for fans of short fiction, verse, and long-form essays.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A first-rate anthology of bold, searching and personal writing by emerging and established writers on the theme of arrival . . . If this first installment is anything to go by, it has all the hallmarks of a promising new project . . . [An] admirable collection . . . Prepare to be transported.” —Malcolm Forbes, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“[Freeman] wants writers to be seen. He believes in the stories they tell . . . While the roster of writers included in the first issue is impressive—in addition to Mr. Keret, Ms. Carson, Mr. McCann and Mr. Hutchinson, you’ll also find the likes of Haruki Murakami and Dave Eggers—and the stories they tell in Freeman’s feel like hands reaching out from the ether to save the reader from everyday life, they connect . . . Freeman’s is very much like New York, a melting pot where folks can be themselves . . . The world has certainly arrived in the pages of Freeman’s.” —Sarah Dohrmann, New York Observer

“[An] infinitely relatable and beautifully crafted prose and poetry anthology . . . Freeman has assembled a thoughtful and profoundly accessible collection of work that connects our vulnerabilities, our expectations and our hopes.” —Newcity Lit

“A terrific anthology . . . Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell and a host of other lively writers let loose their imaginations in editor John Freeman’s first outing with a new literary journal that is sure to become a classic in years to come.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Illuminating new work . . . Perfect reading for our ever-accelerating times.” —NPR’s Book Concierge, “Our Guide to 2015’s Great Reads”

“Freeman has great balance . . . . Every piece in this collection has the potential to make jaded readers happy . . . You need very little time to read each piece but they linger exactly as Freeman intended they should.” —Sydney Morning Herald

“The former editor of Granta has launched a biannual journal of his own, named for himself, because—why not? The first issue takes up the theme of arrival, with short nonfiction, fiction and poetry by Louise Erdrich, Haruki Murakami, Dave Eggers, Lydia Davis and Aleksandar Hemon, who contributes a funny and touching piece about his Bosnian immigrant parents making a home in Canada.” —Tom Beer, Newsday

“Laura van den Berg’s incredible story ‘The Dog’ has a snappy, fast-paced surface and a dark, glittering core . . . For my money, the best essay here is ‘Black and Blue’ by Garnette Cadogan . . . This essay deserves as much exposure as anything published on black life in America this year . . . Freeman’s is working in a weird, wild, many-tendrilled form.” —Saturday Paper (Australia)

“A perfect companion for travelers.” —Sacramento Bee

Arrival is not a gimmick; it’s a heartbeat. Listening for its pulse from one page to the next encourages dual enjoyment, first with each individual piece, and then the pieces in conversation . . . Freeman’s often reads more like a curated anthology than a journal . . . From Bangladesh to the West Bank, Bosnia to Jamaica, Sudan to Iceland, the focus is refreshingly global. Reading Arrival feels like sitting in an airport cafe eavesdropping on the conversations of fellow travellers—journeys beginning and ending, lives intersecting and diverging; a group of people brought together by transit, but united through storytelling: that most human of impulses . . . This geographic breadth, and profound sense of borderlessness is what most distinguishes Freeman’s in the increasingly crowded marketplace of literary journals.” —Australian

“A diverse range of short stories, essays, poetry and photography that deal with that elusive moment of first contact, of what it means to arrive (or fail to arrive) at some literal, emotional, biological or metaphorical location. The result is a fascinating read . . . The ordering of material is carefully and artfully handled . . . If future editions of Freeman’s live up to the quality of Arrival, I am sorely tempted to become a subscriber.” —Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)

Freeman’s: Arrival is best enjoyed by dipping into and choosing whichever piece appeals at the time . . . Absorbing.” —New Zealand Herald


From “Drive My Car,”
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Ted Goossen

“Can I ask you something?” Misaki said.

Kafuku had been looking out the window at the passing scenery, lost in thought. He turned to her in surprise. They had been driving around together for two months, and rarely had she initiated a conversation.

“Of course,” Kafuku said.

“Why did you become an actor?”

“A college friend of mine, a girl, asked me to join her theater club. I’d never been interested in acting. I wanted to play baseball. I’d been the starting shortstop on my high school team, and was pretty confident of my defensive ability. But I wasn’t quite good enough for our college team. So I figured, what the heck, l might as well take a stab at something new. I wanted to spend more time with that girl, too. After I’d been acting for a while, though, it dawned on me that I really liked it. Performing allowed me to be someone other than myself. And I could revert back when the performance ended. I really loved that.”

“You loved being someone other than yourself?”

“Yes, as long as I knew I could go back.”

“Did you ever not want to go back?”

Kafuku thought for a moment. No one had asked him that before. They were heading for the Takebashi exit on the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, and the road was jammed.

“There’s no other place to go back to, is there?” Kafuku said.

Misaki didn’t venture an opinion.

They were silent for a while. Kafuku removed his baseball cap, inspected its shape, and stuck it back on. Next to them was a tractor-trailer with too many wheels to count, a huge rig which made their yellow Saab convertible feel fleeting, ephemeral. Like a tiny sightseeing boat floating next to an oil tanker.

From “On Learning Norwegian,”
by Lydia Davis

In the beginning, as I made my way into this partly incomprehensible Telemark of the 1600s and 1700s, I felt, pleasantly, all the farther away from home in both time and culture for not knowing half of what I was reading. Then the mists began clearing, and each page offered another reward: not only the unfolding story, but also a linguistic revelation—again and again came the little burst of understanding, like a little light coming on, as a word that looked so mysterious—milj“—abruptly revealed itself: milieu.

This confrontation with the densely printed text in the unknown language turned out to be oddly exhilarating. It was like diving, or jumping, into the deep, cold, and mysterious waters of a mountain lake. Or, to change the metaphor—I’m searching for a way to express just what this project was like—it was like confronting a rock face, or a mountain that I had to climb. The fact of doing it by myself, independently, without help, was part of what made it exhilarating. No one was going to lift me up that mountain. I would have to find the handholds and footholds by myself.