lookihaveopinions

You are now entering Land of Spoilers and Criticism

Stuff on this blog:

  • Personal and professional biases, without full disclosure
  • Spoilers, with and without warnings
  • Unpleasantness, with and without warnings

Short story: “All the Ways He Won’t Die”

“All the Ways He Won’t Die,” by Jess Zimmerman

Appeared in Catapult, February 17th, 2017

3006 words

I like this.

Short story: “What’s Not There Can’t Hurt You”

“What’s Not There Can’t Hurt You,” by Sara Taylor

Appeared in Granta, October 28th, 2016

1915 words

Creepy. I’m pleased to see Granta publishing something that wouldn’t feel out of place in Nightmare or Pseudopod—they’re genre-flexible when the writing is good.

I can’t decide if I’m satisfied with the ending. The reveal that refuses to resolve anything reminds me of “Suzanne Delage.”

Short stories: “Alien Treaties”

“Alien Treaties,” by Randal Doering

Appeared in Stupefying Stories: March 2014

Not sure how many words

Gripping. I kind of think it should have ended with the main character’s decision; the reveal that the Sleen are real isn’t really a twist.

Short story: “Here Is Where”

“Here Is Where,” by Cate Kennedy

Appeared in Ploughshares Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2016; available on Project MUSE

Roughly 7 pages?

A really really good character study. I guess what makes it a story is the twist.

Short stories or fictional essays or something: “Caramel Drizzle,” “Hands on the Wheel,” and “End of Phone Conversation with Verizon Adjustment Person”

“Caramel Drizzle,” “Hands on the Wheel,” and “End of Phone Conversation with Verizon Adjustment Person,” by Lydia Davis

Appeared in Ploughshares Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2016; available on Project MUSE

Less than a page each

I don’t understand the point of these pieces. They appear to follow “Telling Stories about One’s Life” deliberately, but that doesn’t help me understand.

I’m omitting “Second Drink,” the piece that follows these three, because I think I do understand that one.

 

Short story: “Telling Stories about One’s Life”

“Telling Stories about One’s Life,” by Peter Bichsel, translated by Lydia Davis

Appeared in Ploughshares Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2016; available on Project MUSE

Maybe a thousand words?

This story—fable? essay?—gets at a universal but hard-to-articulate subject.

Another story in which an adult narrates from his childhood self’s point of view.

Short story: “The Ghost’s Preface”

“The Ghost’s Preface,” by Kamel Daoud, translated by John Cullen

Appeared in Ploughshares Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2016; available on Project MUSE

Roughly 12 pages?

I wonder if this is really a story about failure—to coin a tag, a failure of human connection. The cruelty of the narrator never gets answered or punished in any definite way, but he is haunted by an unhappiness that tastes a lot like guilt. He can neither control nor overwrite the “book” he despises so much.

 

Short story: “A Dream of Men”

“A Dream of Men,” also apparently titled “An Old Virgin,” by Mary Gaitskill

Appeared in the New Yorker, November 23rd, 1998 (subscribers can read here, also online here); collected in Don’t Cry; featured in the New Yorker Fiction Podcast

5059 words

A strange story; the plot takes place in the main character’s seemingly unordered thoughts. Men, women, sexual violence, sexual chivalry, sexual “honor,” sexual vulnerability, the working out of some complicated grief.

Not this time

On finding out what kind of country we live in

“I’ve lived in a country that would vote for Donald Trump my entire life. And, as a black woman, I’ve felt it. That feeling of hurt and betrayal that many liberal white Americans are just now feeling? That’s what I and so many other people of color have felt their entire lives.”

—Ijeoma Oluo (x)