The Paris Review is honored to be the recipient of this year’s National Magazine Award for Fiction, recognizing in particular three stories published in 2019: “Foxes,” by Kimberly King Parsons; “Under the Ackee Tree,” by Jonathan Escoffery; and “Howl Palace,” by Leigh Newman. Nominees and winners were announced in a live Twittercast on February 6, and the magazine will be recognized at the awards ceremony in Brooklyn on March 12.
Below you can get a taste of all three stories.
From Kimberly King Parsons’s “Foxes” (issue no. 229)
What’s worth happening happens in deep woods. Or so my daughter tells me.
Her plotlines: In the deep woods someone is chasing, someone else is getting hacked. Hatchets are lifted, brought downdowndown. Men stutter blood onto snow. A cast of animals—some local, some outlandish—show up to feast on the bits. “The bitty bits,” she’ll say, “the tasty remainderings.” Good luck diverting her. Good luck correcting or getting a word in once she gets going. It’s gruesome, but this type of storytelling, I’ve been assured, is perfectly normal among children her age.
From Jonathan Escoffery’s “Under the Ackee Tree” (issue no. 229)
If you carry on like before with Reyha and Sanya and Cherie, is Sanya who will come beat down your door and cuss you while Cherie sneak out back. You’ll make promise and beg you a beg for she hand in marriage one time. Is Sanya you love, like you love bread pudding and stew, which is more than you have loved before. You love that when she walk with she brass hand in yours, you can’ tell where yours ends and hers begins. You love that where you see practical solution to the world’ problem, Sanya sees only the way things should be; where you see a beggar boy in Coronation Market, Sanya sees infinite potential.
Most of all, is she smile you fall for. Sanya’ teeth and dimples flawless and you hope she’ll pass this to your pickney, and that them will inherit your light eyes, which your father passed down to you.
From Leigh Newman’s “Howl Palace” (issue no. 230)
To the families on the lake, my home is a bit of an institution. And not just for the wolf room, which my agent suggested we leave off the list of amenities, as most people wouldn’t understand what we meant. About the snow-machine shed and clamshell grotto, I was less flexible. Nobody likes a yard strewn with snow machines and three-wheelers, one or two of which will always be busted and covered in blue tarp. Ours is just not that kind of neighborhood. The clamshell grotto, on the other hand, might fail to fulfill your basic home-owning needs, but it is a showstopper. My fourth husband, Lon, built it for me in the basement as a surprise for my fifty-third birthday. He had a romantic nature, when he hadn’t had too much to drink. Embedded in the coral and shells are more than a few freshwater pearls that a future owner might consider tempting enough to jackhammer out of the cement.
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