300 short stories:: story 184

story: “Commerce and Residue”

author: Tim Fitts

year: 2017 (in Go Home and Cry for Yourselves)

where: mio ufficio

note: a great story for our age of cultural appropriation politics

a line: “Marcus slightly envied the fact that Pham had an automatic angle borne into her. She was part of the diaspora. Her father had spent time in re-education camps.”

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300 short stories:: story 176

story: “Saint Andrew’s Hotel”

author: Sara Majka

year: 2016

where: Greece

note: from Cities I’ve Never Lived In

a line: “Peter stayed in the hospital until he was twenty-one; nobody could find his parents, and the hospital had put him to use in the kitchen.”

300 short stories:: story 169

story: “The Adventure of a Soldier”

author: Italo Calvino

year: 1984 (English translation)

where: Philadelphia train

note: Such great description of how time stretches in the moments of nearness to someone we desire.

a line: “This meeting of calves was precious, but it came at a price, a loss: in fact, the body’s weight was shifted and the reciprocal support of the hips no longer occurred with the same docile abandon.”

300 short stories:: story 166

story: “The Lost Order”

author: Rivka Galchen

year: 2014

where: casa dolce casa

note: I can’t recall the stimulus for purchasing Galchen’s book, American Innovations, and this makes me sad. I hate forgetting. This story has a ring like Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing”…a ringing call. The main character also feels like a more morose and confused Lorrie Moore character.

a line: “I have not always–had not even long–been a daylight ghost, a layabout, a mal pensant, a vacancy, a housewife, a person foiled by the challenge of getting dressed and someone who considered eating less a valid primary goal.”

300 short stories:: story 163

story: “Now That the Circus Has Shut Down, the Human Cannonball Looks for Work”

author: Meghan Phillips

year: 2018

where: 我的办公室 (again)

note: This short short story has the punch at the end like contemporary English poetry. Maybe it has something to do with its length too; though it would not be mistaken for a prose poem.

a line: “He’s happy to be a reference, but he’s not sure how much weight the words of a clown will carry.”

300 short stories:: story 162

story: Love Machine

author: Samantha Hunt

year: 2017

where: home physically, but mentally with The Man Who Fell to Earth

note: George Saunders, Ovid, and Dostoevsky would have a party in this story

a line: “’Machines,’ he continues, ‘have one of only two choices. Either they are run by humans or else they run themselves. And the way I see it, either choice is no good for me.’”