Short story: “A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease”

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“A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease,” by Jonathan Safran Foer

First appeared in the New Yorker, June 10th, 2002 (subscribers can read here); anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 (edited by Dave Eggers and a committee of high school students; Google Books); PDF here

7.5 pages long

Having read this piece over a decade ago in college, I found it again by googling stories with unusual punctuation and barely acceptable substitute and eventually, barely tolerable substitute. Jackpot.

The trick here is similar to the one in “People Like That Are the Only People Here,” expressing pain by refusing to express it. Words trail off into placeholders and other unspoken, unsayable things.