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This week at The Paris Review, we’re celebrating that most late-August phenomenon: humidity, and the ensuing sweat. Read on for Don DeLillo’s Art of Fiction interview, Sheila Kohler’s short story “Cracks,” and Andrew Klavan’s poem “The Pond.”
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Don DeLillo, The Art of Fiction No. 135
Issue no. 128 (Fall 1993)
On humid summer nights I tracked horseflies through the apartment and killed them—not for the meat but because they were driving me crazy with their buzzing. I hadn’t developed a sense of the level of dedication that’s necessary to do this kind of work.
By Sheila Kohler
Issue no. 145 (Winter 1997)
Perhaps Fiamma did not make herself faint. Perhaps she just fainted. The girls on the swimming team take turns fainting in chapel. We all know how to do it. Before Communion, while you are on your knees and have not had any breakfast, you breathe hard a few times, and then you hold your breath and close your eyes. You sweat and start to see diamonds in the dark. You feel yourself rush out of yourself, out and out.
By Andrew Klavan
Issue no. 115 (Summer 1990)
Child-crafted clouds, all sheen and fleece and curlicues,
as a girl, with her tongue in her teeth, would have made them,
the point of her crayon squashed against the page.
One came across the mountains, then another came;
one shadow of one ran across the grass and then another;
but the small apple tree and even the great maples
flagged in a heat that hung like rain,
that grayed the air with sweat under
the stark, flat, white medallion of the sun;
a swimmer’s heat that even the woman on the porch steps
panted in. Still, she would not go in the pond.
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