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Summer Reading Sold Out

Issue #16, 2003

Reading a great story is like falling in love with a stranger on a train. In your complete absorption you miss your stop, pour coffee down your shirt, forget your own name—what could be more sublime? Stuart Dybek's breathtaking novella Breasts is guaranteed to send you many stops past your destination. In fact, we strongly suggest that you spirit this issue off someplace warm and safe, like the beach, park, or any other clean, well-lit, stationary locale. Like Stuart Dybek, Joy Williams and Charles Baxter reaffirm our belief in the power of fiction. Not as solace or balm, but as a challenge to see and hear and think clearly, to fine-tune what one does, and doesn't believe in. Also, make sure to read Gary Greenberg's moving account of adopting a baby from the wrong side of the tracks, a passionate essay that raises difficult questions about fertility, race, class, and the myriad choices facing prospective parents.

Charles Baxter

AN EXCERPT FROM THE NOVEL, SAUL AND PATSYShe smiled at him, to tease him, to test out her power, to give him an anguished memory tonight, when he was in bed and couldn't sleep, thinking of her, in the density of his empty, stupid life.

Joy Williams

FORTUNE • She was attracted to James, to his deep-set eyes and pale perfect skin, but none of them were lovers. If any of them had been lovers, it would have spoiled everything.

Stuart Drybek

BREASTS • 'Stevo, when they ask how it happened say you fell of your bike.'

Howard Hunt

SOVIETSKI! • Glasses are lined up and more champagne is uncorked, and Magda, the most prestigious of the prestige girlfriends, heats up a big pan of svaråk, or hot wine.

John Aiello

NOTHING ELSE MATTERS • Some say they hear themselves scream like a stranger, like a voice coming from ten feet behind them, raising the hackles and throwing the heart up into the throat. But I knew I was speaking to you.

Rebecca Barry

HOW TO SAVE A WOUNDED BIRD • I stare at his tight body, his muscled face, and wonder if he ever kissed my husband.

Melanie Rae Thon

THE MILK OF LILACS: FOR MY MOTHER AND THE THIEF • We were two, my mother and I, and Daddy was in the barn, four days gone, but not buried.

Karl Kirchwey

THREE CHILDREN DRAW THE PERSEUS OF CANOVA

Carl Phillips

PLEASURE

Stefi Weisburd

RODEO: SADDLE POINT
EXIT EXPLOSIVE AS ENTRY

Benjamin Gantcher

ENTOMOLOGY

Jason Schneiderman

PHYSICS II: LEIBNIZ

Nagami Atsuko • Translated by Hiroaki Sato

DESCENDING TO 'HELL VALLEY' IN THE NIPPARA STALACTITE CAVE

Eleni Sikelianos

Poetry
THE LAKE

Marilynne Robinson

Regan Good talks to Marilynne Robinson about the writer's duty to rub readers the wrong way, her celebrated novel Housekeeping, its long-awaited follow-up, and how Calvinism gets a raw deal.

Paul Collins

ON GREG TATE'S 11 YEARS, 9 MONTHS, AND 5 DAYS: BURGER STORE EPISODES AND FRUSTRATIONS

David Lehman

ON ALEXANDER KLEIN'S THE COUNTERFEIT TRAITOR

Anna Keesey

ON WILLIAM MAXWELL'S TIME WILL DARKEN IT

Tiffany Lee Brown

ON NARRATIVE OF A VOYAGE TO SENEGAL by J.B. HENRY SAVIGNY and ALEXANDER CORREARD SCHOOLCRAFT

Jeff Parker

FOUR STOPS ON A BIGFOOT HUNT • At a meeting of the Tri-State Bigfoot Study Group, the author discovers that love is a far more tactile thing than Bigfoot.

Gary Greenberg

LITTLE BROWN SHACK • The author goes through a parental audition with a birth mother and explores his and society's perceptions of race, class, cultural imperialism, fertility, and adoption.

A.J. Rathbun

RUMMY • Rum's checkered past: Thomas Jefferson was a rummy--why can't the author be one too?

Sarah Arvio

PIE • The author muses on apple pie, parents, and poetry.

Steven Carter

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: An excerpt from the novel, I WAS HOWARD HUGHES