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Summer Reading

Issue #28, 2006

The issue in your hands offers the best kind of magic. Steven Millhauser's truly fantastical story, "The Other Town," conjures a hamlet with a dark doppelgänger; Antonya Nelson plunges us into domestic chaos in her razor-sharp story "OBO"; in the poem "Minotaur, No Maze," Matthea Harvey imagines a different kind of mythical beast; and in the story "Perseids" by New Voice Emma Cline, we are dropped into remotest Greenland. Steven King, overlord of the horror genre, also subverted our expectations with his arresting story of a man recovering from a serious head trauma. And what is summer without feasting? Chris Offutt writes about possum and squirrel, Lydia Davis ruminates on the pleasure of dining alone, and Lan Samantha Chang remembers a gastronomic affair.

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Stephen King

MEMORY • When I say I was confused, I mean that at first I didn't know who people were, or what had happened, or why I was in such awful pain.

Anthony Doerr

VILLAGE 113 • The Village Director stands under an umbrella. The sky is a threadbare curtain of silver. 'It's true,' he says. 'We've been slated for submergence.'

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

SANDMAN • 'What is Jonathan, or any of you, going to do when the clowns sneak up behind you and clobber you over the head with a tire iron?' Ms. Hempel asked the eighth-graders.

Steven Millhauser

THE OTHER TOWN • Here and there we also catch glimpses of the replicators, the ones who see to it that all changes in our town are repeated in the other town, and who do their best to keep out of our way.

Antonya Nelson

OBO • Abby was coming to Christmas with her English professor's wife's family. She'd been invited on account of the lie she'd told Dr. Shapiro, which was that her own family had disowned her.

Yiyun Li

PRISON • 'Don't let her out of your sight,' Luo said. 'She has our child in her.'
'It's not like she'll run away,' Yilan said. 'She needs the money.'

Emma Cline

Fiction
PERSEIDS • The reporters talked about 'child and mother,' 'frozen solid,' recently died.' 'Mystery,' they said. But it wasn't a mystery.

Richard A. Sanchez

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR • Thomas McCoy said: 'Your uncle's just going to live in your backyard forever?'
'Not forever,' Bobby said, 'just as long as it takes.'

Diana Park

Poetry
WE'RE NOT FARMERS

Ben Doyle

BERET SPOTTING

Cicily Parks

HOW TO READ A MACKEREL SKY
IN COLDER WEATHER

Matthea Harvey

MINOTAUR, NO MAZE

Dean Young

SELF SEARCH

Alan Ziegler

CALL FOR RESEARCH

Michael Dickman

SOME OF THE MEN

Alison Stine

WASTE

Roddy Doyle

The author of The Woman Who Walked into Doors, The Commitments, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, and other books talks with Tom Grimes about Ireland new and old, the terrors of Christian fiction, and the duty of a writer to be stupid and tell the truth.

Will Self

The author of eleven books, including the upcoming The Book of Dave, talks with Rick Moody about blogging, the walk from airports to major cities, plus churchy relatives and ambivalent Jewishness.

Gerald Howard

ON EVELYN WAUGH

Paul D. Kretkowski

ON IRWIN SHAW'S The Young Lions

Steve Almond

ON FRANÇOIS CAMOIN'S Like Love, but Not Exactly

Jason Myers

ON MARIANNE MOORE'S Predilections

Chris Offutt

UP YOUR GOOSE WITH A BONELESS DUCK • There are two kinds of writers: those who cook, and those who don't.

Lydia Davis

EATING FISH ALONE • On the ritual of dining to please only yourself.

Lan Samantha Chang

THE END OF LAUGHTER • Over a series of ravenous dinners, a not-quite love affair.