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Great Men

Ranging between lively readings in the homes of Moscow’s literary elite to the Siberian Gulag, Julie Lekstrom Himes’ Mikhail and Margarita (Europa editions) recounts a passionate love triangle while painting a portrait of a country whose towering literary tradition is at odds with a dictatorship that does not tolerate dissent. The following excerpt portrays a meeting between Mikhail […]

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction

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The Last Summer of Our Youth

Early that June, some new neighbors moved in just up the road and built a house around their trailer. We spied on the old couple until their house was done. We watched them start to collect things like tires and rusty chairs in their yard. When the swampy area behind our own house dried out, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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You Have to Pay for That

  I was walking in a shop and touching sweaters: beige, oatmeal, linen, eggshell. All the colors that make people feel like they should say things like, “I would’ve spilled coffee on that yesterday. You are so brave.” As if not caring about spills and knowing how to use bleach correctly was some real purple […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Birth

It was a kind of turning. For months it waited for the right conditions—a full moon or a drought—before waking up. Lodged under skin and muscle, it slept there with its feet braced against the bottom ribs. Sometimes it woke up for a minute and kicked at all the insides until shit poured out, but […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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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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They Tell Me I’m Lucky

At the Shiva, people tell me I’m lucky. They say they know someone, who knew someone, who met a woman in the meat aisle, whose fingers they grazed while reaching for the number dispenser. Who looked up horrified. Whose eyes flashed, not with, I didn’t mean to, but with something like wonder electrified. A woman […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Beautiful Venom

The jester spider (Venenum beatus) moves sufficiently fast that we cannot perceive it. As humans have proven too large for it to digest, the jester spider always flees before a foot can tread upon it in the backyard or a finger can corner it in an old work glove. Sometimes, however, it will mistake a […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Tin House Galley Club: Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan

Tin House invited a select number of early readers to read advance copies of Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan–here’s what they had to say.

Posted in Fiction, Tin House Books

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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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Clock

My grandmother had a mechanical wall clock powered by weights. To wind it, she pulled down one of the weights, and for the next twelve hours, the clock ticked off the lengths of the chain as the counterbalance forced it back up. When I spent the summers with my grandmother on the Karelian peninsula, my […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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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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I Lived in Los Angeles

  I don’t know the people I live with very well because we rarely talk beyond one-sentence exchanges, so when I walked down the stairs and saw the Mrs. and Mr. in a hot tub, I thought it couldn’t get much worse, but it did because she didn’t have a top on. So I said, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Intruders in Ms. Hansen-Knudsen’s Class

  1. THE UNBORN Ms. Hansen-Knudsen was the most beautiful woman on earth, so her second-grade class was not surprised when the two chicks emerged fuzzy and so plump, and calm-seeming, and sunshine yellow: perfect. For a time their little chirps floating out from the pouch Ms. Hansen-Knudsen made in her blouse were enough to put […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Aquabot

Since Kurt didn’t relate well to living things, his sister Val got him an Aquabot for his birthday. It arrived from Amazon in an oversized box that held an ordinary glass fishbowl, a green plastic shark and an extra card of button batteries. “Activates when submerged in water,” the directions said, so Kurt filled the […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Saint Burma

Plottoists brought it all back home last week for our final round of THE MASTER CONTEST OF ALL PLOTS, and the judges phoned in from their respective Thanksgiving locations to fight it out for the winning story. Congratulations to winner Nikki HoSang, whose clever “Saint Burma” delivers a homecoming we never expected. Jo was fluffing […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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Laws

PLOTTO took a turn for the harrowing last week. Protagonists committed crimes ranging from casual murder to poor artistic taste, political apathy to the unleashing of spiders. Or did they? Congratulations to winner Zana Previti, whose mysterious “Laws” brought us characters so convincing we thought we knew them, and so haunting that, by the end, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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PLOTTO: THE MASTER CONTEST OF ALL PLOTS, Week 5!

Calling all writers who are obsessed with plot and obsessives who can write a mean story. We want you!

Posted in Events, Fiction, Tin House Books

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Thanksgiving

  Fictional writers got more than they bargained for last week. They sparred with disgruntled protagonists, relived their memoirs, and reckoned with that minor character they killed off in Chapter One. Congratulations to the winner of Week Three, Carolyn Oliver, whose poignant “Thanksgiving” reminded us the story is never over.  Check out this week’s prompt […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, General

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PLOTTO: THE MASTER CONTEST OF ALL PLOTS, WEEK 4 of 5

Calling all writers who are obsessed with plot and obsessives who can write a mean story. We want you!

Posted in Events, Fiction, Tin House Books

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Beneath the Red Cap: An Interview with a Hillary Hater

“Why don’t you trust Hillary Clinton? Say it out loud, please. I want you to hear your answers.”

“She wants it too much?”

“She’s too ambitious?”

“Too ambitious?”

“Is that a problem for someone running for president, to really want to be president?”

Posted in Fiction, General

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Rust

Ghosts. Talking plants. A sense of self. Just a few of the (sometimes hazardous) surprises in store for last week’s protagonists as they took took up quarters in a vacant house. Congratulations to the winner of Week Two, Annesha Sengupta for her story “Rust.” The more times we read it, the eerier it gets. Check out […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays

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PLOTTO: THE MASTER CONTEST OF ALL PLOTS, WEEK 3 of 5

Calling all writers who are obsessed with plot and obsessives who can write a mean story. We want you!

Posted in Events, Fiction, Tin House Books

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Wordstock Week: Helen Phillips

How can I talk about them. The aliens, the form they chose to take. The pinafore, the suspenders. The broad white collars and the big black buttons.

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Hey Neighbor

Week One of PLOTTO: THE MASTER CONTEST OF ALL PLOTS brought in an overwhelming array of great stories. We found ourselves in busy train stations, fish markets, and test labs. Strangers passed each other cryptic letters, time-travel talismans, howling babies. And then they vanished, leaving us eager for more. Congratulations to last week’s winner, John Lawton, […]

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fridays, Tin House Books

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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 […]

Posted in Excerpts, Fiction

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