400 short stories: story 317

story: “The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street”

author: Mavis Gallant

year: 1963

where: Burj al Salam, Dubai

note: reread

a line: “Snow, which he tasted, melted on her hands. His gesture of licking snow from her hands was formal as a handshake.”

theme(s): Self-delusion, expatriate life, storytelling, loyalty

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400 short stories: story 313

story: “A Dream of Men”

author: Mary Gaitskill

year: 1988

where: Home, kitchen table

note:  Apparently this story is discussed by Ben Marcus and Deborah Treisman on an episode of The New Yorker: Fiction podcast; I’ll have to give it a listen this week. 

a line: “Ever since then, Laura had felt good around Dr. Ramirez. Every time she saw her, she thought, Ways to be a loving person.”

theme(s): Sexuality, death, aging, desire

400 short stories: story 311

story: “The Stone”

author: Louise Erdrich

year: 2019

where: Happiness Island

note:  “This story is about finding solace in an entity that isn’t human.” -Erdrich

a line: “A stone is, in its own way, a living thing, not a biological being but one with a history far beyond our capacity to understand or even imagine.”

& “A stone is a thought that the earth develops over inhuman time. It is a living thing to some cultures and a dead thing to others.”

theme(s): Inanimate and animate objects,

300 short stories: story 266

story: “Everyone Cried”

author: Lydia Davis

year: 2019

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

300 short stories: story 265

story: “Pet Milk”

author: Stuart Dybek

year: 1984

where: Aspen

note: I want to try a King Alphonse drink sometime.

a line:  “There was a yellow plastic radio on her kitchen table, usually tuned to the polka station, though sometimes she’d miss it by half a notch and get the Greek station instead, or the Spanish, or the Ukrainian. In Chicago, where we lived, all the incompatible states of Europe were pressed together down at the staticky right end of the dial. She didn’t seem to notice, as long as she wasn’t hearing English.”

theme(s): Memory, Associations, Young Love, Waiting,