Object Lesson: Kings



The story so far: in Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story, we asked twenty contemporary writers to choose their favorite short stories from our fiction archive, and write an introduction. The result is a crash course in the short story, an introduction to some new authors and a reintroduction to others, and a terrific anthology.

Today’s quiz: Can you guess who wrote the following selection?

Today I have learned a great lesson; our cook was my teacher. She is twenty-five years old and she’s French. I discovered that she does not know that Louis-Philippe is no longer king of France and we now have a republic. And yet it has been five years since he left the throne. She said the fact that he is no longer king simply does not interest her in the least—those were her words.

And I think of myself as an intelligent man! But compared to her I’m an imbecile.

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