I DM John Cheever on Twitter when I see that his most recent tweet says, looking for a good time. In my message, I say, aren’t we all? And he says, We must look for light where we can find it. Classic John Cheever.
Through beguiling and often frustrating means, Hoffman pushes both our conception of the Midwest and of the short story, re-centering them congruously as sites of mystery and magic…
I have built many sandcastles in my life. An essential component has always been water. It is best to catch a bucketful in the breaking tide to mould first the base structure, then the trickier, more playful parts of that medieval architecture; the sandy turrets, windows, and arches.
Before Eris plucks the apple up and bowls it down the hall of emerald and ruby, saffron and butter, where the joyful bacchanal is unfurling its green tendrils dripping nectary without her, uninvited, SNUBBED, she stands by the table, gazing at the brimstone-and-chaff woven fruit bowl. She considers: Quince? Peach?
A married woman, finding herself bored with married life, seeks something better. That something better is another man, who promises to be the antidote to her boredom. Drama ensues.
Her favorite thing is to read about the antics of the little prince who lives halfway around the globe. Yesterday — or would it be two days ago in his time zone? — he rode in a baroque open air carriage that looked like it belonged in a museum.
Anita and I were driving around the back roads near Key Largo, looking for the places where the characters in my story would end up. I wanted to describe those roads in detail, by name. I wanted to know exactly where Laura, the narrator of ‘Noir’, would drive.
The sheep gather in the middle of the field. Their whisper rises: Furze. Whin. Gorse.
The silence surrounding V was what followed me, all that I didn’t know and could never know. I’d tried to write into that void so many times, in so many ways, and always failed.
I didn’t go to the funeral. My grief was too obtuse, too childish to be experienced communally.
“It was my birthday when I found out that all the birds were electric,” the narrator proclaims in the first story of Sadie Hoagland’s collection, American Grief in Four Stages. This is indicative of the world Hoagland presents in these stories, one easily recognizable as our own, yet slightly bizarre — these strange details producing the exact feeling of being immersed in grief.