For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

Week n° 30: May 06, 2013

The magical is sometimes the only way of looking at things that are hard to articulate.

Novelist, poet, and author of story collection, The Rest is Weight. 2012 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist.

Zadie Smith on reading as a balanced diet for writing, in a lecture published as “That Crafty Feeling”:

I read lines to swim in a certain sensibility, to strike a particular note, to encourage rigor when I'm too sentimental, to bring verbal ease when I'm syntactically uptight. I think of reading like a balanced diet; if your sentences are too baggy, too baroque, cut back on fatty Foster Wallace, say, and pick up Kafka, as roughage. If your aeshetic has become so refined it is stopping you from placing a single black mark on white paper, stop worrying so much about what Nabokov would say; pick up Dostoyevsky, patron saint of substance over style.

Our recommendations this week

Bullet in the Brain
Excerpt

She stood her ground. “I didn't say it was tragic," she said. “I just think it's a pretty lousy way to treat your customers."

“Unforgivable,” Anders said. “Heaven will take note.”

She sucked in her cheeks but stared past him and said nothing. Anders saw that the other woman, her friend, was looking in the same direction. And then the tellers stopped what they were doing, and the customers slowly turned, and silence came over the bank. Two men wearing black ski masks and blue business suits were standing to the side of the door. One of them had a pistol pressed against the guard's neck. The guard's eyes were closed, and his lips were moving. The other man had a sawed-off shotgun. “Keep your big mouth shut!” the man with the pistol said, though no one had spoken a word. “One of you tellers hits the alarm, you're all dead meat. Got it?”

The tellers nodded.

“Oh, bravo,” Anders said. “Dead meat.” He turned to the woman in front of him. “Great script, eh? The stern, brass-knuckled poetry of the dangerous classes.”