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Swimming Lessons: An Excerpt

Gil Coleman looked down from the first-floor window of the bookshop and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below.

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction

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Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan: An Excerpt

Every night as I lay in the scut of my Montague House bed, I tried to picture my mother’s face.

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Freebird: An Excerpt

Freebird is out now from Graywolf Press.  Jon will be reading this Friday (January 20th/7:30) at Powell’s City of Books. You could always get unmarried in life. You could switch jobs. You could get fat and turn around and get thin again. You could change your haircut a thousand times. But there was one thing […]

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Wayward Heroes: An Excerpt

An excerpt from the forthcoming release from Archipelago Books. Translated from Icelandic by Philip Roughton THE SWORN BROTHERS had their men fish, hunt, and forage, and they berthed their boat in little inlets in the evening. They never strayed far from the boat. They took great pleasure in the sport of searching cliffs for seabirds […]

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What Becomes Us: An Excerpt

Our parents had failed five months in a row to make a baby…

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1968 – 1971: A Humiliated Student

From the memoir Cockroaches, out next week from our friends at Archipelago Books. Arriving at the Lycée Notre-Dame-de-Cîteaux with the little card-board suitcase once used by my brother André, and then by Alexia, I was filled with hope and apprehension at the same time. My apprehensions were more than justified, but I never lost hope. I’d […]

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Black Wave: An Excerpt

Black Wave is a dystopic memoir-fiction hybrid forthcoming from Feminist Press.  Michelle had had her best celebrity sighting yet about one week ago, a life-changing experience. So far, the celebs at the bookstore had been impressive but minor. Alan Quartermaine from General Hospital came in with his boyfriend, oh yes, Michelle was sure, that was […]

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Pleasure Kid

“You’re like a radiant corpse,” she said to the man in her bed. She had wanted to say it for days. “I know,” he said brightly, looking up from his book. He was older than she was. “I get exhausted,” he explained. “I really do. But then I get excited.” “Then you forget your body,” […]

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction, General

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Requiem for Bread

An excerpt from The Cathedral Of Mist (Wakefield Press) Translated by Edward Gauvin   Requiem for Bread ffff Bread should never be sliced, my grandmother says, it must be broken. And she takes the knife from my hands. I say nothing, silent in the presence of sacred words. I ask my cousin to explain. She is […]

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Body Electric

From our current Summer Reading issue, “Body Electric” by Malerie Willens.  This person’s got a name, but let’s call her “you.” You pop into Butterwell Bakeshop after work, to huff the vapors of a thousand mille-feuilles. You eat a complimentary stub of zucchini bread from the basket on the counter while pretending to survey the […]

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction, From the Magazine

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Before the Feast: An Excerpt

We are sad. We don’t have a ferryman any more. The ferryman is dead. Two lakes, no ferryman.

Posted in Excerpts, Tin House Books

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Ghosts of Bergen County: An excerpt

There were no witnesses except the woman who’d been up all night…

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In the Massif Central

From the Faith issue, an excerpt from Michael Helm’s forthcoming novel After James, out from Tin House Books in September 2016. Since the summer Celia turned twelve her father had taken her on expeditions. He led teams of interchangeable members, opening plague pits in London, coring ice in Siberia, hose-blasting permafrost in the far north to find […]

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction, From the Magazine

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The People in the Castle

He gave an exclamation of astonishment, for at the back of her mouth he could see something white sticking up. He cautiously pulled it further forward with his forceps and discovered that it was the end of a long piece of cotton wool. He pulled again, and about a foot of it came out of her mouth, but that seemed to be nowhere near the end. He glanced at the girl in astonishment, but as she appeared quite calm he went on pulling, and the stuff kept reeling out of her throat until there was a tangle of it all over the floor.

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The Divine Magnet: Melville’s Letters to Hawthorne

This month sees the release from Orison Books and editor Mark Niemeyer of a collection of Herman Melville’s letters to Nathaniel Hawhthorne, under the title The Divine Magnet. The ensuing epistolary bromance covers a range of topics, and in his introduction to the book, novelist Paul Harding pays a particular attention to faith in the lives […]

Posted in Essays, Excerpts

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The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: An Excerpt

When I interviewed people about the murders, some cautioned that the crime was a black hole that held nothing within. Heinous crimes are like that, people said. They do not teach lessons, they only confirm the worst suspicions about what can happen in our world. To venture close to an entity so dark and try to wrest value from its depths was not only foolish, it was dangerous: a black hole withholds and mangles all it consumes and devours anything wan­dering too close to its invisible mouth. Yet, the same people who compassionately issued this warning also told me, often at length, of all the crime had come to mean in their lives, how it had challenged their beliefs or fortified them. How it continued to flicker as a figure on the edge of their peripheral vision, moving out of range when they turned to see it head-on.

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