For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

Week n° 3: October 15, 2012

I’m not sure what most writers’ goals are when writing long fiction – to make money, apparently, and avoid expressing anything original or interesting.

Author of story collections Smithereens, Toxicology, and more.

 Etgar Keret in an interview with Rain Taxi:

All my writing-life people kept telling me that I should stop writing short stories and start writing novels: my agent, my Israeli publisher, my foreign ones, my bank manager—they all felt and keep feeling that I'm doing something wrong here. But for me taking a pragmatic decision when it comes to art is almost an oxymoron. The reason I first picked up a pen and wrote a story had nothing pragmatic in it. Making up characters and places and plots, unlike fixing your plumbing or doing dishes, is anything but practical or rational. I write what needs to be written the way that seems genuinely right. If what comes out of it are stories, then it is my vocation to believe in them and in the fact that they'll interest people and maybe affect their lives. 

Our recommendations this week

An Arrangement of Light

In the end, they came and got him and took him away in the third black sedan. A single door was opened from within, and I remember that as he stood peering into the dark upholstered interior, the look on his face was that of a man standing on the edge of an abyss, equally afraid of falling and of throwing himself in.

We read it in An Arrangement of Light.


In that old familiar smell was contained a marvelously simple synthesis of the life of those people, the distillation of their race, the quality of their blood, and the secret of their fate, imperceptibly mixed day by day with the passage of their own, private time. The old, wise door, the silent witness of the entries and exits of mother, daughters, sons, whose dark sighs accompanied the comings and goings of those people, now opened noiselessly like the door of a wardrobe, and we stepped into their life. 

Meditations on Green

“What a cruel experiment.”

Some say. And maybe they're right. Yet, in my experiment, a group that would—under natural conditions—die off is allowed to thrive. I suppose there's no real difference between them and the fowl and livestock that have become so ubiquitous thanks to the flavor of their meat. And they're slaughtered in their prime. If you're going to read into the life of a paramecium, you'd better find similar meaning in the life of a chicken or a cow. Anyway, the success of a life can hardly be measured by length alone.

“Do you see any speculative movements?”

I cock my head in puzzlement. My interlocutor rephrases:

“Sorry. What I meant to ask is: do your short-lived paramecia display any speculative movements unobservable in normal paramecia?”

“Trying to reach enlightenment, for example?” I answer her question with another question, curling up the tail of the final word.

The room is enveloped in laughter. I have no idea what to make of it.

She and I are the only ones not laughing. 

We read it in Monkey Business Volume 02.