For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

Week n° 16: January 28, 2013

Who gives a shit about the winners?

Author of Middle Men: Stories, out Feb. 19. 

Walter Mosley in Off the Page

I think of novels as mountains, and short stories as far-flung islands that are the tips of mountains. The idea is that poetry and short stories are very crystalline. Each word, each idea, each movement is specific and unalterable. Whereas in novel writing, as E.M. Forster says, “It's 50,000 words more or less of spongy prose.”

Our recommendations this week

The Sorrows of Idiot Augustus
Excerpt

Powązki Cemetery then and that couple at the cemetery today. And our thirtieth anniversary, which is basically our twentieth. And maybe also because I've never gone anywhere else, since then. Those are the reasons I decided to leave. To leave! I was so excited about my decision that I couldn't fall asleep. I just started thinking about what to take; what's more, I actually got up to start a little list, so as not to forget anything. I wrote: Camera, Shulz, charger, don't forget!

And when I'd written that, I added up at the top: Taormina, but then I crossed this out and wrote: Trip to Sicily, but then I crossed that out and wrote: I am, as of recently, a teacher of Polish, though have now been given early retirement. And that's how this diary got started.

Urban Planning: Case Study Number One
Excerpt

Philosophers set up tables at which they contemplated in lively and vigorous fashion the premises and consequences of the whole endeavor, debating, for instance, whether the open or closed form of the umbrella was more authentic and fundamental. Closed was originary, yet its very existence had meaning only in the context of the open; never had these pallid intellectuals come so close to blows. 

We read it in Understories.

The Fiddler
Excerpt

In most of his remarks upon a variety of topics Hautboy seemed intuitively to hit the exact line between enthusiasm and apathy. It was plain that while Hautboy saw the world pretty much as it was, yet he did not theoretically espouse its bright side nor its dark side. Rejecting all solutions, he but acknowledged facts. What was sad in the world he did not superficially gainsay; what was glad in it he did not cynically slur; and all which was to him personally enjoyable, he gratefully took to his heart.

We read it in The Happy Failure.