300 short stories:: story 159

story: Benito Cereno

author: Herman Melville

year: 1856

where:  work after reading Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past

note: People often cannot conceive of reality’s happenings, because the truth is unthinkable to them.

a line: “That moment, across the long-benighted mind of Captain Delano, a flash of revelation swept, illuminating, in unanticipated clearness, his host’s whole mysterious demeanor, with every enigmatic event of the day, as well as the entire past voyage of the San Dominick. He smote Babo’s hand down, but his own heart smote him harder.”

.”

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300 short stories:: story 158

story: What Terrible Thing It Was

author: Esmé Weijun Wan

year: 2017 (but read in 2018’s Best American Short Stories)

where:  home with Bowie

note: I remember the morning I found out Trump won too. I was plant-sitting at a magical apartment in Al Ain Towers with my then-boyfriend, who woke me up to break the news. We drank coffee on the biggest sofa and then, the parking lot at work was silent

a line: “In terms of depression, however, sadness is not so much my problem, in which case it might make most sense to choose I DO NOT FEEL SAD. Yet it is my belief that this could never be the right answer as long as I am alive.”

300 short stories:: story 157

story: The Coast of Leitrim

author: Kevin Barry

year: 2018

where:  work, early morning

note: technology are modern-day courting, and technology while alone

a line: “In an empty bar in what appeared to be the center of the city, he drank a glass of red wine and tapped into his phone the Wi-Fi code. He went to the first place he always went—her Instagram account.”

300 short stories:: story 154

story: Poor Girl 

author: Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

year: 2018

where:  desk, work work

note: surprises at every turn! (translated)

a line: “Not only did she keep the house and work, she also looked after her mother-in-law, a former language-arts teacher, who was crazy about the theatre and literary readings, enjoyed the courtship of elderly military officers, and regularly came home “under guard.” Laughter, late-night dinners—the father would bathe the girl and read her a bedtime story before coming to the table.”

300 short stories:: story 153

story: Cecilia Awakened 

author: Tessa Hadley

year: 2018

where:  il mio ufficio

note:

a line: “Her mother, Cecilia’s grandmother, who was elegant and drank and had lovers, had remonstrated when Angela was younger: if only she’d move more gracefully, less jerkily, if only she’d try contact lenses and wear dresses instead of shirts and slacks. Angela had advanced unhappily toward middle age, when such pressures would surely come to an end. And then before she was forty, when she was on her third book—her second had been a minor hit—and just around the time that she met Ken, her mother died, and so never knew that her awkward daughter had succeeded in hooking a man after all. Weeping angry tears, Angela allowed herself this bitterness when the funeral was over, mocking herself and her mother—but only when she was alone, in her most private thoughts.”