For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

Week n° 29: April 29, 2013

A zombie story will end one of two ways, and my hope was to make the reader forget that there were only those two ways it could end.

Author the short story collection, The Miniature Wife and Other Stories

Robert Coover on the writer's power, in an interview with Bookslut:

People, fearing their own extinction, are willing to accept and perpetuate hand-me-down answers to the meaning of life and death; and, fearing a weakening of the tribal structures that sustain them, reinforce with their tales the conventional notions of justice, freedom, law and order, nature, family, etc. The writer, lone rider, has the power, if not always the skills, wisdom, or desire, to disturb this false contentment.

Our recommendations this week


“For her age, Brenda has a pretty figure, don’t you think?” Cata remarked. “I’ll have to check it out next time,” I replied.

I had already noticed. Catalina thought that Brenda was old. “Pretty figure” is her way of praising a nun for being thin.

I only like movies about spaceships and children who lose their parents. I didn’t want to meet a gay genius who was in love with a mariachi who, unfortunately, was me. Actually, I was only handed excerpts containing those scenes in which I would appear. “Woody Allen does the same thing,” Catalina explained. “The actors find out what the movie is about in the theater. It’s like life: you only see your scenes and you miss the bigger picture.” This last idea seemed so accurate that I suspected Brenda had shared it with her.

Subtle Invasion

I'd imagined the Japanese would eat with exaggerated neatness, even to the point of irritation, pincering the food as if each morsel were a mechanism in a timepiece. But this wasn't the case: the man served himself with knife and fork, using them with great fluidity, and he chewed each mouthful without any breach of aesthetics. Reality shook my preconceptions.

We read it in Asymptote: April 2013.

Tranlsation published in 2013. Full story can be read here.

Leila in the Wilderness

In the beginning, the great river was believed to flow out of a lion's mouth, its size reflected in its ancient name — Sindhu, an ocean. The river was older than the Himalayas; the Greeks had called it Sinthus, the Romans Sindus, the Chinese Sintow, but it was Pliny who had given it the name Indus. One night under the vast silence of a perfect half-moon and six stars, a mosque appeared on a wooded island in the river, and Leila was woken by the call to prayer issuing from its minaret just before sunrise. It was the day she was to be blessed with a son.

We read it in Granta 112: Pakistan.