The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Letters Between Tortoise and Hare” by Brandi Wells

I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, chaffing against my nine to five office job, weary of the routine and cadence of every week and weekend. It’s spring in New York, which doesn’t help, since all anyone wants to do is go sit in the sun somewhere with the company of a few friends, something cold to drink, and a snack from a nearby food truck. It’s a normal fatigue that will pass soon enough, but in the meantime I’ve been trying to shake myself out of it in the small ways that I can.

300And I seemed to have a stroke of good luck: the other day on my morning commute, I found Brandi Wells’s story “Letters Between Tortoise and Hare” in Paper Darts. The experience of reading it felt a little like being told to take the day off and go hang out in the park. The story surprised me—it’s energetic and fresh, with language that is simple and a premise I wasn’t expecting.

As you may have guessed from the title, the story is a retelling of the fable “The Tortoise and the Hare” and is made up of a series of ten short letters. Wells reimagines these characters in a possibly abusive romantic relationship, one where Hare seems to be trying to make a new life and Tortoise follows, at first innocently enough, but eventually Tortoise’s pursuit of Hare becomes sinister and controlling.

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