Redux: Amos Oz, May Swenson, Gerard Kornelis van het Reve



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

This week, to soothe your cabin fever, we bring you Amos Oz’s Art of Fiction interview from our Fall 1996 issue, Gerard Kornelis van het Reve’s short story “The Winter,” and May Swenson’s poem “From a Daybook.” 

Amos Oz, The Art of Fiction No. 148
Issue no. 140 (Fall 1996)


Does it ever snow in the desert?


Oh yes, every two or three years. And then you should see the expression on the faces of the camels crossing the desert! That is when I understand the real meaning of the word bewilderment! But even without snow, it is bitterly cold in winter, a savage place at dawn, when stormy winds seem determined to sweep away the whole town into the desert. 

“The Winter,” by Gerard Kornelis van het Reve
Issue no. 14 (Autumn 1956)

The winter had set in earlier than usual. It was the beginning of November and already wet snow was scudding about, driven along by a storm. Sometimes it seemed as though the wind, rising after a breathing space, would smash the row of low houses and scatter their remains.

Henry stood in the narrow bay window of the front room and stared into the flying snow.

“I know the soft wood’s growing,” he said to himself. “But it has to be put where it’s safe. I’ll have to find a safe place and plant it there if the storms go on. Before it’s too late.”

“From a Daybook,” by May Swenson
Issue no. 79 (Spring 1981) 

January 29th

Black-white-black the flock of scaup
pushing hard against whittles of the tide.
Each seems to have a window in the side.
Light might shine right through. The day
is frozen gray, a steel engraving,
the bay a pewter plate, sky icy mist.
Black scaup, bluish bills poked forward,
float, white middles on dark water are
transparent squares of light …

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