The author discusses her forthcoming novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation, fiction as impetus for personal change, and the inhumanity of the creative class.
This piece consists entirely of first sentences from 268 short stories published in The New Yorker over the past 20 years, from 1997 to 2017.
Jimmy, it’s your girl. The one at the desk whom you pay a living wage. This is what could be known as a wake-up call if we were the sort of people who relied upon others to remind us of our tasks.
“I love titles that sound good in the mouth.”
When she told N she was leaving, his response was that doing so would ruin him—financially.
“Nothing you will see tonight is normal,” said Elihu’s mother. It was the first exciting thing she’d ever said.
Fabulism and absurdity from an under-appreciated Italian master.
The writer on his short story collection, Hybrid Creatures, and using mathematical equations, HTML code, music symbols, and propositional logic to build narratives.
I meet the artist, who does x, for a snack one afternoon. We have the kind of conversation it was more necessary to have previous to the existence of the Internet. We exchange general info about the world.
I was the type of man who got his ears cleaned. I was the type of woman who didn’t like dogs. We lived together in a house on a street that was the color of asphalt. I told you what I thought of you.
Passion overwhelms comprehension. Comprehension kills passion.
A posthumous collection cements the author’s reputation as a master of the short story.
500 billion years ago—the dark touches itself in the dark and experiences something like ecstasy. Except that ecstasy isn’t a feeling yet—the sensation is just kind of sharp and warm. Afterwards, the dark feels happy and breathless. Afterwards, the dark feels lonely.
When I was thirteen, two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to the house to follow up on a conversation from the week before with my mother.
The writer of The Job of the Wasp on horror, human evil, and writing long sentences.
The playwright discusses his formative years, rejuvenation of historical material, and how race is coded into theatergoing itself.
You are on a sidewalk packed and fierce and fueled by desire greed ambition come on come on miracle.
The professor reads the submissions with his hand cradling his sparrow and when he reaches hers, he masturbates profusely, rubbing his sparrow’s feathers until it is nearly bald.
I say something about the time and he replies, “I cannot sleep in this lifeless room, I can’t, I can’t. I won’t. You can’t make me.”
When he could no longer stand her chatter—in France I made myself a dress of leaves stitched together with stems and I wore it by that river, the big one, the sludge, and that’s how I met many interesting boyfriends from the National Geographic Magazine—he left Nancy on the hotel roof with the chef from Mumbai.