Blake Butler “The Disappeared” | Short Story #339

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2020 Short Stories

story: “The Disappeared”

author: Blake Butler

year: 2013

where: Quarantine

note: I learned about this story from a charming essay on Lit Hub by Nick Ripatrazone. It was described as “a story about a boy’s longing for his missing mother during a pandemic, and how we have to hold on to hope even when the entire world feels like it is falling apart.”

a line: “The police showed up and bent him over and led him by his face out to their car. You could hear him screaming in the lobby. He sounded like a woman.”

theme(s): Family, abuse, pandemic, hope, the state, public health

Danielle Evans “Harvest” | Short Story #338

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story: “Harvest”

author: Danielle Evans

year: 2010 from before you suffocate your own fool self

where: Quarantine

note: When I began this story, I thought it was going to be a first-person plural POV, but it surprised me into shifting into first-person singular.

a line: “Every time I call my house, even those times when I am calling because my mother has forgotten to pick me up or call me back or send me something necessary, she tells me she has just been thinking of me.”

theme(s): Intersectional feminism, race and class, motherhood, college

Danielle Evans “Snakes” | Short Story #337

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2020 Short Stories

story: “Snakes”

author: Danielle Evans

year: 2010 from before you suffocate your own fool self

where: Quarantine

note: I like how this story showed how fear can develop; the example here is a fear of snakes, but it hints at the fear of abandonment and the “other” too.

a line: “A confession: because I didn’t know the difference between kinds of intimacy back then, I told each of the first four men I slept with that he was the only one I’d ever told this story. Jason was the fourth, and the only one to call me a liar: he’d already heard the story from my roommate a week before.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, Fear, Abandonment

Rebecca Makkai “A Story for Your Daughters, A Story for Your Sons” | Short Story #336

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2020 Short Stories

story: “A Story for Your Daughters, A Story for Your Sons”

author: Rebecca Makkai

year: 2020

where: Quarantine

note: This is a new story from the Spring 2020 issue of The Paris Review; the first paragraph is gorgeous and reads like a fairy tale. For people interested in stories of female utopias (Charlotte Perkins Gillman, Doris Lessing, etc.) this one is for your collection.

a line: “His father, before he died, had circled a small mountain village on his map, had noted that the trading was good but the trip took two difficult days.”

theme(s): Female utopia, secrets, men and women