Unferth is unable to write a boring sentence. She denies her creations cliché resolution, is resilient to heroic evolutions, permits no godly miracles. We anticipate these ill-fated characters will succumb to their predicted dead-ends, but Unferth time after time demonstrates a remarkable gift for conjuring the unforeseeable, and the restricted scopes of her worlds miraculously give birth to expansive possibilities and ambient revelations through a voice ignited by its own humanity.
I remember … there was once a time … I wanted to be you …. wanted to Afro-out my life … color my brown face … black … red … green … I thought it would make you happy … this rebel child … who taught … apartheid … Rap Brown …
They will see me. The cruiser’s tucked alongside a ridge of blasted granite that borders the inland side of the road. I wear a bug-eyed gunslinger’s mask of thick sunglasses complimented by my hat, dipped forwards ever so slightly. I sit not tense but hunkered down, ready, facing the direction of the Indiana border a little ways ahead.
Right when most were expecting Saunders’s first novel would be the culmination of decades of his distinctively ecstatic and earnest comic stylings, the man has thoroughly zigged that zag with Lincoln in the Bardo, a book that is, whatever else it may be, nothing anyone was likely expecting.
“So the thing about Cat People,” the stuntman said, talking about the last movie he had worked on in L.A. before coming back to Utah, “is that I didn’t really have much to do. But still got the paycheck.” He laughed. “And that’s the thing with my line of work. It’s hard to get in.
If these fragments are to be found, / let them be found / with a picture of a mountain behind them, / Something ethereal, something blue.
Now that I have toiled and strayed so far over / the wilderness, am I to sleep, and / let the earth cover my head forever?
I have lived amongst creatures, delicate / yet hard as teeth. Honey and milk seeping / from mouths, sticking to our skin.
she / poured out sound so near your own / name and did without trying
I'm afraid that child isn't here anymore. / He left on the fog from last February, / taking with him his red fireman hat, / his parents, all torn to rags and once loved
In an inversion of The Handmaid’s Tale’s easily-grasped pictograms, our heroine gets stung because she does not understand the meaning behind a wordless feminine symbol. That is, she does not understand the symbology of herself.
With each palm he holds a bent knee so her limbs splay outwards. Squinting and searching, like Cousteau but on land, the Pirate has never held a map before but her legs still meet at the angle he knows best. Not his girl but his arachnid.
What are you working on now?
Christine Sneed: I finished a novel manuscript at the end of the summer and currently I’m only working on short fiction, which is a relief, I have to say. A novel is a marathon, and a short story is more like a 5K.
I took care of Johnny’s horses. Johnny cared about them, and so he’d come and watch me, and it wasn’t possible for me not to imagine that he cared for me too. In part, at least, because we shared an object of affection. Perhaps love is always a three way—but the third must be an object. When another subject enters, that’s when the trouble . . . Of course horses are both . . .
Abeba, The African Giantess, stood on the crest of the hill watching The Great Petey Smith Circus carnies, performers, and mob of spectators swarm the square next to the town’s railroad tracks. Rain had pelted her tent in the dark hours, the thunderous hymn waking her up, but she knew then it wasn’t going to be no cleaning rain.
Whenever Rose closed her eyes she saw it. It greeted her when she lay down in bed each night to go to sleep, and at any time during the day when she wanted to rest her eyes. It was very big—hard to say how big because it was never next to anything. It was a rectangle of true black within the more hazy black of closed eyes.
Something akin to magic occurs when the reader is filled with knowledge that surpasses the characters on the page, when we gain authority over their insecurities and discomforts, when we have answers that could crack open their families, could soften their tensions, answers they will never know
Opportunity here in the center of a prison-industrial complex is a chance at catching an escaped convict, while seemingly the only entertainments on offer are rented movies, darts, and boxed wine.
I remember with great clarity the moment I realized I was a translator. It wasn’t even a realization, exactly; I didn’t think, “Hmm, I’d like to be a translator.” It was more like an irresistible force.
Erin had been to Bob Ellis's Christmas party five years running. Eric had been there either two or three out of the last five years. He couldn't remember which. He might have been there the year before, but he couldn't be sure. He thought he might have been there, but there was no way of telling. It was a year ago. Or longer, if he hadn't actually been there. Which he wasn't sure he had.