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Posts Tagged ‘short story’

Claire Vaye Watkins Wins Dylan Thomas Prize

November 8, 2013 | by

Vaye Watkins

We are delighted to announce that Claire Vaye Watkins has won the Dylan Thomas Prize, awarded to the best work of literature published by an author under the age of thirty, for her debut short story collection Battleborn.

Read an excerpt of Watkins’s story “Gold Mine,” from issue 195, here.

 

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Lydia Davis’s “Local Obits”

June 11, 2013 | by

In seventh grade, I was teased mercilessly about my funny speaking voice, and I’ve been self-conscious about it ever since. It took some persuading to get me to make this recording, and it’s a testament to the story that I was game: while I love many things in issue 205, “Local Obits” was what I wanted to share. Anyone familiar with Lydia Davis’s work knows that she can do a lot with a little, and this piece—composed of elliptical snatches of lives, or, rather, someone else’s distillation thereof—turns the quotidian incantatory, funny, bittersweet, strange. A master class in the minimal (if not in performance).

 

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420 Characters

December 1, 2011 | by

Illustration by Lou Beach.

The stories you are about to encounter were written as status updates on a large social-networking site. These updates were limited to 420 characters, including letters, spaces, and punctuation. The author hopes you enjoy them.

I KEEP MY FRIENDS IN A BOX under the bed, categorized and separated, secured by blue rubber bands that originally held broccoli. One day I removed the lid and saw that they had all turned into little bones. I strung them together into a long strand that I looped around and around my neck.

TURNS OUT she wasn’t really pregnant, just doing a number, needing someone to hold onto. Hell, I’ve been married four times, I sussed it out. Anyways, I cut her loose in Bismarck and got a job on a road crew. Saw a big gray wolf deep in a field of snow. He sniffed the air and was gone.

THERE IS A PLACE I visit, where no one else goes. The rocks are slippery and sharp, the drop to the dark sea below makes me dizzy. The sun never muscles its way through the gang of clouds that hover overhead shedding a mist that plasters my thin hair to my head, makes me turn up my collar. No, you can’t go with me, I don’t want a sandwich to take, thermos of hot chocolate, though your asking may keep me home.

THE FLOOR MANAGER cued him for the break. “When we return—a report on elder abuse.” He stood and stretched, sat back down when the stylist came to fix his makeup, adjust his hair. “You’re so handsome,” she whispered as she dropped two pills into his waiting hand. “You’re killing me,” he said and put his hand on her ass.

I DON’T KNOW HOW she tracked me from Bismarck. Maybe she followed my scent. Anyway I was working in Waukesha putting up vinyl siding and I look down and there she is, looking up at me with a hand on the ladder. “Hey.” “Hey.” I was still a little pissed at that pregnancy bullshit she tried to pull, but there was something about the curve of her neck and that dumbass gap-toothed grin … Read More »

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James Salter Wins the 2010 Rea Award

August 23, 2011 | by

Photograph by Lan Rys.

James Salter, winner of The Paris Review’s 2011 Hadada Prize, has been given the 2010 Rea Award for the Short Story, a lifetime-achievement prize bestowed annually on “a living American or Canadian writer whose published work has made a significant contribution in the discipline of the short story as an art form.” This year ’s jurors praised Salter as “the most stylish and grave and exact of writers.” Past winners of the prize include Grace Paley, Cynthia Ozick, Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, and John Updike.

To read more, see our complete coverage of James Salter month.

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Karen Russell on Swamplandia!

February 3, 2011 | by

Photograph by Michael Lionstar.

Swamplandia! is twenty-nine-year-old Karen Russell’s first novel. But the Miami native is already well known in literary circles for her debut story collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006). The overlapping themes in St. Lucy’s—the pitfalls and wonders of childhood, reality’s spectral double, and the changeable mood of the Florida swamp—resurface, with equal deftness and wit, in the novel, which also borrows the Bigtrees, a family of alligator wrestlers. In Swamplandia!, the Bigtrees operate the titular theme park on a small island in Florida’s archipelago, and Ava, the youngest daughter, traces the park’s and the family’s demise—the “Beginning of the End” she calls it—after the death of her mother.

Were there theme parks on islands in the Florida you grew up in, as there are in the novel?

There were definitely a lot of these little Diane Arbus-y–constructed realities everywhere. We had Monkey Jungle, Parrot Jungle, a serpentarium off I-60, zoos, and the Miami seaquarium. It was this seamless, whole cloth thing: There is the seaquarium, now we go to the grocery store. It doesn’t really interrupt reality.

We had a little boat when I was really young, and we would go tool around the islands near Pristine Bay, and I loved that. I was reading YA novels where kids are always shucking their parents and living for months on an island, so that was exciting. There’s a whole genre of YA novels where some kid is stranded by a plane, or stuck on an island, or lost in the woods, and they use their kid resources to survive through sheer luck. That was always my favorite trajectory. I was an anxious kid, and these books seemed like the best invention ever: here is a door I can carry with me wherever I go; I could just open a book in any situation.

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Before There Was Twilight, There Was Dusk

July 7, 2010 | by

Dusk Add James Salter's Dusk to the list of genius reissues coming out this year. Modern Library has put out a handsome new edition of the story collection, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award when it first appeared in 1988. (If songs from 1988 can be called oldies, then a book from the same year definitely qualifies as a classic reissue.) Dusk had been out of print for many years, so the new edition is a godsend for those of us who don't have the original issues of Esquire, Grand Street, and, ahem, The Paris Review lying around. Four of the stories in Dusk first appeared in our pages, and to celebrate the return of a great book, we've put the full text of "Am Strande von Tanger," the lead-off story in the collection, online here. That story is forty-two years old, and it's still not showing any signs of age.

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