Her mother taught stillness the hard way. Wouldn’t speak to her when she was driving. Told her to get under the blanket whenever she heard voices. Whenever she saw a red-blue scream of sirens. Sometimes she brought Bird things she found when she left the car, broken sunglasses and chipped lawn gnomes and abandoned tool belts. If anyone else ever opened the car door, run like hell.
After death her skin seemed less in agreement of continuation than the rest of her. As the weeks passed it continued to shrivel fast to her bones. Occasionally small pieces would tear and hang like spent wallpaper. Remedies were elusive; Band-Aids and gauze looked too depressing. ‘Collage!’ she screamed one afternoon. Death had added an alarming vocal shrillness. ‘Decoupage!’ Using fabric glue, she began to patch up weary areas using petals from the orchids in the lobby. The weeks went by and her hands and forehead began to take on a masked paper-mache quality.
In 1998, T.C. Boyle released his first massive collection of short stories, titled, appropriately enough, Stories. Clocking in at 700+ pages, the book illustrated the zany profligacy of one our premier short fiction writers. Now Boyle has released a new collection — titled (of course) Stories II — and with it comes a new trailer.
'Do you have the key for this lock?' she asked Samsa.
‘I haven’t the slightest idea where the key is,’ he answered honestly.
‘Ah, Gregor Samsa, sometimes you make me want to die,’ she said.
He woke to discover that he had undergone a metamorphosis and become Gregor Samsa.
After years of rebuffing film deals and movie rights offers, David Sedaris has finally allowed one of his stories to be made into a motion picture. This month, you’ll be able to check out University of Miami alum Kyle Alvarez’s adaptation of “C.O.G.” (Child of God).
Each story that Bender writes is voiced like a myth. Bender’s writing teaches us that every story is potentially familiar — as if it had been told for centuries and nurtured in many faithful mouths — so long as one tells it just so. For this purpose, she strips the story down to its mythic kernel. The characters have no names. The “we” who carry out the heinous act have apples, and they have their way with “the girl,” yet they are also described as “starving” before and after the act as they sit around eating apples all day. There is such a lack of explanation, of gaining anything, that the story manages to fuse two classic, tragic figures: the one who cannot enjoy what he has, and the one who has metamorphosed so that she cannot enjoy her own body. The entire story can be read in the time it takes to eat an apple.
Hannah Gold, “Childish Things: Aimee Bender’s The Color Master”
There are no throwaways in Orner’s work. And he doesn’t feel obliged to outline the passing of time or shifts in perspective. In one story it’s not until the end that we learn the story is being told by a dead man from his grave. Throughout, Orner makes quick and quiet moves, voltas, if you will, and doesn’t ask for permission or feel the need to ramp up to things. He seems to trust himself, and we should too.
Not for the first time the boy was struck by the great human mysteries of this world. He was almost fifteen, almost a man, and the great human mysteries of this world were striking him with satisfying regularity, as was correct for his stage of development.
The folks at Harper’s Bazaar (not Harper’s Magazine) are launching a new short story competition, and the grand prize is wild: an all-expenses-paid weeklong stay on a private Scottish island, publication in the May 2014 issue of the magazine and a first-edition book from the Asprey’s Fine and Rare Books Department, worth up to £3,000. (And yes, that’s pounds, not dollars.)