story: “Contract Overseas”
author: Mia Alvar
where: Bagdad Theater on Hawthorne Blvd.
note: I love brother sister sibling stories. This collection was recommended to me in Aspen.
a line: “After the cafés closed, they spilled into the dormitories to prolong such life-and-death debates as whether literature had social duties, as Salvador Lopez believed, or whether art’s only obligation was to art itself, as Jose Garcia Villa did.”
theme(s): Siblings, sacrifice, education, womanhood, writing
story: “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us”
author: Laura van den Berg
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
story: “Everyone Cried”
author: Lydia Davis
where: Our Tiny House in Oregon
note: From the 2019 NYer online Flash Fiction series
a line: “After lunch, we usually felt better, and the office was filled with its normal hum and bustle, people carrying folders and walking briskly here and there, sudden bursts of laughter rising from cubicles.”
theme(s): Work life, emotions, stress, routine