Are you a writer looking for a situation with built-in irony and ample opportunities for subtext? Have you considered a melancholy birthday scene? I’ve collected a few merciless examples for consideration. “Referential,” by Lorrie Moore Moore dives into the irony of the sad celebration in the first paragraph of
Lorrie Moore’s story “Referential,” published in the New Yorker in 2012 and included in her 2014 collection Bark, is a clear homage to and reflection of Vladimir Nabokov’s story “Symbols and Signs,” published in 1948 in the New Yorker and included in his collection Nabokov’s Dozen a decade later.