story: “Eating Fish Alone”
author: Lydia Davis
where: Home, in bed
note: In The New Yorker, Davis’ eyes have been described as “blue milk glass”…and this sentence could almost constitute the length of an average story by Davis. In truth, I’ve read several dozen of her stories this week, but they are so short, it feels unconscionable to list them all here individually.
P.S. Thank you Isabella Simonetti for the book.
a line: “‘Most people don’t eat them,’ she said matter-of-factly. I thought of the waste, and the care with which the chef prepared, over and over again, the vegetables that no one ate.”
theme(s): Sustainability, consumption, solitude, eating out
story: “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden”
author: Denis Johnson
where: Le Brioche
note: This is the title story from Johnson’s collection and is an assigned reading for my workshop class in Aspen Words.
a line: “Rather than memorializing him, we found ourselves asking, ‘Who the hell was this guy?”
theme(s): Aging, death, career
author: Rachel Heng
where: morning with coffee
note: I love trees! How simple, how true
a line: “But what if we are wrong? What if the hubris is justified, if this is indeed different from the lava and ice that we have faced before? What if this does not pass?”
theme(s): Nature, class warfare, politics
author: Patricia Engel
where: Dubai at Big Gate’s, then at home
note: This story was selected for the 2019 O. Henry Prize collection (first appeared in the Kenyon Review).
a line: “’Survival requires different things of different people.’ I don’t know where in me this came from. It was something I hadn’t even begun to understand for myself.”
theme(s): survival; abduction; abuse; disappearing
author: Nick Almeida
where: 客厅，大门 (di nuovo)
note: short short story from Baltimore Review
a line: “Later, she left for Montana with Neal—the man from the computer, Pap called him—and the dog went too.”
theme(s): Womanhood, strength, parenthood