short stories Archive

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Entity” by Mira Mattar

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If I think back to the best people I’ve known—those who were my favorites, who were most alluring, engaging, and alive, the personalities that took up space in the world—there’s not necessarily a common thread between all of them. That’s not all that surprising. Humans take different shapes. What

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Abingdon Square” by André Aciman

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I’ve written before about the feeling you get when a story follows you. When you’ve put the book or journal down or you’ve turned off your computer and gotten up and gone back to the rest of your life. But then you catch yourself, in idle moments, thinking of

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Disappearance of Herman Grimes” by Michael Shou-Yung Shum

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It’s not often that I cry a little while reading a short story. I’ve been known to cry at badly written episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, at the emotional conclusion of certain novels, and in the presence of pretty much any crying person. (My tear ducts are sympathetic—what can I

The Suburbs, in Short

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In my last post I discussed the frequent dissimilarity between the actual American suburbs and their depictions in most novels we tend to think of as “suburban.” This is not to say, though, that the reality of contemporary suburban life remains unaddressed in today’s fiction. Here I’d like to

When Characters Attack

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It’s eerie to open your email and find a message from one of your characters. It’s downright surreal when he threatens to sue you. A few years ago, I published a story in Tin House which (for reasons that should be clear later) I’ll refer to here just as

Episodia 1.1: Making Comedy and Paper with Liz Lemon

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If you didn’t have the pleasure of viewing “30 Rock” before its finale on January 31, allow me to introduce you to the funniest female sitcom character since Lucille Ball. Her name is Liz Lemon, and — as the head writer for “TGS with Tracy Jordan,” a live comedy show

Sorry Please Thank You

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Sorry Please Thank You Charles Yu Pantheon, July 2012 240 pages $24.95 Charles Yu is weird. It’s just one of those things you can tell after reading the stories from his most recent collection, Sorry Please Thank You. There’s a zombie shopping for a date, a floating door to

Birds of a Lesser Paradise

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Birds of a Lesser Paradise Megan Mayhew Bergman Scribner, March 2012 $24.00 240 pages In the twelve stories in Megan Mayhew Bergman’s debut collection, the past is always present. Children live in the failing light of dying parents. Lovers make their beds on inherited sheets. The furniture in a