300 short stories: story 295

story: “The Boy”

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1988

where: the Ikea kitchen table

note: This story is one long sentence! No, wait, two sentences.

a line:  “I opened his pants and took hold of him but he was soft, breathing fast and shallow, was he afraid?…”

theme(s): Teacher student relationship, sex, desperation


300 short stories: story 284

story: “Indian Camp”

author: Ernest Hemingway

year: 1924

where: post-Flywheel, casa dolce casa

note: For some summer fun, I’ve enrolled in Oates’ MasterClass (I have many thoughts on these classes for another time) and this short story was part of an assignment.

a line:  “’No, I don’t have any anesthetic,’ his father said. ‘But her screams are not important. I don’t hear them because they are not important.’”

theme(s): Circle of life, men and women, colonialism, childhood, death

300 short stories: story 278

story: “Mr. Wu”

author: Ottessa Moshfegh

year: 2016

where: Yamanote Atelier, Dubai

note: An earlier version of this story is on The Paris Review and is called “Disgust”…I’m glad I read it with its revised title, because the original title is too leading.

a line:  “More than anything in the world, perhaps more than winning her heart, he did not want to appear awkward.”

theme(s): Attractive, middle-age, love, prostitution,

300 short stories: story 275

story: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1966

where: Casa

note: Damon and I also watched Smooth Talk, the 1985 movie based on the short story. Much debate ensued.

a line:  “But all the boys fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face but an idea, a feeling, mixed up with the urgent insistent pounding of the music and the humid night air of July.”

theme(s): Dating, Mothers and daughters, Sexuality, Vanity

300 short stories: story 267

story: “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us”

author: Laura van den Berg

year: 2010

where: Reed College

note: I have been time-sharing under a rock; this is my first read by the author, though I’ve known her existence for a long time now. I was fortunate to hear her read last night at Tin House.

a line:  “Madagascar was not the first expedition on which I had accompanied my mother.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, adventure, separation, loss, survival, aging