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This week at The Paris Review, we’re celebrating the release of our latest issue with selections from Fall 2019 contributors who have previously appeared in the magazine. Read on for William Styron’s 1999 Art of Fiction interview, Diane Williams’s short story “O Fortuna, Velut Luna,” and Kevin Prufer’s poem “The Adulterer.”
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William Styron, The Art of Fiction No. 156
Issue no. 150 (Spring 1999)
There have been certain scenes in all my works that came to me with such mysterious ease—with the sense of being preordained—that I can only attribute them to the same powerful subconscious process.
O Fortuna, Velut Luna
By Diane Williams
Issue no. 226 (Fall 2018)
What is Miss Treece’s trouble, according to a popular notion?
The man A has failed to show up.
Arousing herself at the restaurant, she fixes her lipstick when her solo supper concludes and takes herself down the stairs situated behind the bar.
There, at her business in the restroom, the foamy hand soap is suggestive of fun, but there’s the wringing of her hands and the twitching of her fingers while she washes.
“I never heard. I don’t know … ” Another woman was speaking into her phone before clicking it off. And these two women might have briefly inspired one another had they smiled, because they were both disillusioned.
But they might still build temples to themselves of volume and color, as a poet once said.
By Kevin Prufer
Issue no. 214 (Fall 2015)
Thinking to have their fun, those boys
set a match to the kerosene-soaked
………..then watched it blaze across the lawn
and into the garage
……………………..where it thumped
and smoldered behind the wheelbarrow—
and so it also entered the memory
of the girl who watched
from her bedroom window
but never spoke of it to anyone—
and, They were going to skin it and eat it, anyway,
I told myself, having stopped at my desk
to think about the scene
I’d just invented.
Don’t mind me, said the little voice
at the back of the garage.
Then, silence. Tools and a ladder.
I’ve done terrible things,
I said into the black garage.
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