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May 2008

Public Lives, Private Lives


The Soul Mate

My only son has a soul mate I'm not fond of. But what can I do? They bonded in the army, and although they've been out for a while now, the ties have only grown stronger. Is such a

Ernst and Mylia

Ernst Spengler was alone in his attic apartment, ready to throw himself out the already open window when, suddenly, the telephone rang. Once, twice, three times, four, five, six, seven,

A Voice in the Crowd: A Sketch

Ignacio Abel stopped in his tracks when, through the hubbub of Penn Station, he heard someone calling his name. Which, of course, was impossible. In his three days of waiting in New York,


So what is the moment? What does it look like? What shape does it take and when does it occur, that instant which is not a moment and yet is everything? And why does it slip away from her

The Story of One Occasion

On one of many occasions Greta Garbo visited her fellow actress Marilyn Monroe in her home town, the City of Angels. Greta, who lived in New York, flew to the West Coast, took a taxi at the

from “How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone”

The promise a dam must keep, what the most beautiful language in the world sounds like, and how often a heart must beat to beat shame Francesco rented a room from old Mirela and moved in

The Rooms Aren’t What They Appear to Be

The rooms aren't what they appear to be nor are they the sum of what they seem. What comes clear is their daily record of contact: from the contours that rooms impress on objects and


After the rain, the clouds shrank and the sky shone silver. The phone would ring any minute now. I was standing over the receiver when its shrill snarl echoed in the room. "How are you?"

Among These Ruins

This hotel is an old school, you can feel it despite the time. Despite the torn down walls, the broken spaces. Those who live here seem to be passing through. A few hours a day. A

They Began to Call You

They began to call you, the rocks, breathing, their innumerable visages, their gesticulant throbbing, from the cliff face. You could see the entrance of the cave and you knew. Totems


Why cry for the wingless spirit bird? Why cry for the honeybird? The king attends a funeral and dances with his eyebrows, his naked words smelling of sand and gunpowder. The

from “Friends for Four Years”

The bunker, located in a quiet, remote corner of the dunes, was surrounded by a low, thorny shrub that kept other beachgoers at arm's length, along with their economy-size cookie

Of Words and Borders

As a writer, I have come to know that writers have the misfortune of being invited to speak on things about which they know absolutely nothing. What do I know about this magic string of words:

MS Hitra

Captain Jonasen followed the dotted line in the atlas with his finger. What he would do after Buenos Aires he didn't know. As far as he was concerned life could end there. He closed the


Field of Battle, Field of Fruit

Spreading out like a dense forest, shaking and rippling like a field of corn combed by the north wind, a hypnotic wave, a river above craggy peaks, the flock is like a cloud-filled sky when


"The bears are tame, I broke them in myself."

from “In Ben’s Footsteps”

For Tim Peltason, Debra Carbares, Anjali Prabhu, and the Newhouse Humanities Center, Wellesley College Ben, do you know why the dreams of children are always corrupted in the mouths of

The East

The high school was a large red-brick colonial building on a hill covered in scrawny pine trees at the edge of Bukavu. There were better schools in town, but you had to take an entrance exam


Book Reviews

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