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,

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300 short stories: story 240

story: “House of Women”

author: Susan Minot

year: 1991

where: the gold sofa

note: This story was brilliant not only for its evocative descriptions of coastal nature, but also because of its blatant realism about how women talking together can manage to “resurrect” our ex-boyfriends, lovers, and husbands.

a line: “By the time the thunder had grown faint the lawn was crowded with them, scores of them, patiently gathered in front of our house.”

theme(s): Women, friendship, recovery, memory, men and women, relationships

300 short stories:: story 206

story: “Dramas”

author: Edna O’Brien

year: 1989

where: mio ufficio

note: from the Paris Review

a line: “When the new shopkeeper arrived in the village he aroused great curiosity along with some scorn. He was deemed refined because his fingernails looked as if they had been varnished a tinted ivory. “

300 short stories:: story 110

story: Her First Elk 

author: Rick Bass

year: 2003

where: work, Saadiyat, between meetings

note: I did not expect to like this story as much as I did.

a line: “And once they had the elk overturned, Ralph emasculated it with his skinning knife, cutting off the ponderous genitals and tossing them farther into the field with no self-consciousness; it was merely the work that needed doing.”