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, The Paris Review is in a holiday kind of mood. Read on for J. G. Ballard’s Art of Fiction interview, Ottessa Moshfegh’s short story “Dancing in the Moonlight,” and Judy Longley’s poem “Brushfire at Christmas.”
If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to The Paris Review? Or take advantage of our new subscription bundle, bringing you four issues of the print magazine, access to our full sixty-seven-year digital archive, and our new TriBeCa tote for only $69 (plus free shipping!).
J. G. Ballard, The Art of Fiction No. 85
Issue no. 94, Winter 1984
I have a sense of certain gathering obsessions and roles, certain corners of the field where the next stage of the hunt will be carried on. I know that if I don’t write, say on holiday, I begin to feel unsettled and uneasy, as I gather people do who are not allowed to dream.
Dancing in the Moonlight
By Ottessa Moshfegh
Issue no. 214, Fall 2015
I met her two days before Christmas at a holiday pop-up market on the Lower East Side. This was 2006, and she was selling refurbished antique furniture, which she’d placed around her taped-off space like someone’s fancy living room. She wore tight red trousers and a black shirt that looked like the top of a ballerina’s leotard. Her hair was frizzy, bleached blonde, and she had a lot of makeup on—too much, I’d say. Her face was pinched, as though she’d just smelled someone farting. It was that look of revulsion that awoke something in me. She made me want to be a better man.
Brushfire at Christmas
By Judy Longley
Issue no. 138, Spring 1996
I’ve followed the crumbs to your feast,
share the table with Father again,
his anger smoldering belly-deep
while Mother smiles, eyes darting,
ready to peck with her sharp words.
In this version of our lives
I’m Sis and you’re Sonny, once children
of a powerful king. You serve platters
of spiral-sliced ham while I butter
my tongue, trapped in my wish
to become an angel of peace, to swallow
lies past the lump in my throat.
And to read more from the Paris Review archives, make sure to subscribe! In addition to four print issues per year, you’ll also receive complete digital access to our sixty-seven years’ worth of archives. Or take advantage of our new subscription bundle, bringing you four issues of the print magazine, access to our full sixty-seven-year digital archive, and our new TriBeCa tote for only $69 (plus free shipping!).