Short story: “Another Sad, Bizarre Chapter in Human History”

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“Another Sad, Bizarre Chapter in Human History,” by Benjamin Markovits

Appeared in the Paris Review Fall 2008, No. 186; online here; also apparently won the Pushcart Prize in 2009

4,014 words

There’s so little scene in this story that it feels like not much is going on, just reminiscences on childhood, and then that awful line comes—“It is a terrible thing, you know, to fall out of love with a child”—and you realize things have been going on under the surface the whole time. I had to check back to make sure I understood what was going on with the hospital bit; I wasn’t sure which kid it was that got hospitalized. The story ends with curious abruptness. The last line seems to bring things back to the narrator’s own life, how easily he could have lost his good luck.