story: “House of Women”
author: Susan Minot
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
author: Edna O’Brien
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. “
story: Her First Elk
author: Rick Bass
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.”