Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘short story month 2013’

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Under the Influence: Around the Campfire of Literature with James Salter’s Opening Paragraphs

“Above all, it must be compelling,” James Salter told the Paris Review in 1993 when asked about his idea of the short story. “You’re sitting around the campfire of literature, so to speak, and various voices speak up out of the dark and begin talking. With some, your mind wanders or you doze off, but with others you are held by every word. The first line, the first sentence, the first paragraph, all have to compel you.” Long before I ever read those remarks by Salter, I’d already come under the influence of his short stories and, in particular, his […]

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Stories We Love: "Ralph The Duck," by Frederick Busch

Stories that move you to tears and make you laugh are rare, but this is one of them. Let me be clear: this story isn’t about a duck. Well, not exactly. It starts with a vomiting dog (stay with me, now) and ends with a dramatic rescue in a blinding snowstorm. In places it’s downright hilarious. The narrator is a night security guard at a small college with a dry wit, taking one class per term for free: My professor assigned a story called “A Rose for Emily,’ and I wrote him a paper about the mechanics of corpse fucking. […]

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Book-of-the-Week Winners: The Peripatetic Coffin

Last week’s feature was Ethan Rutherford’s debut collection, The Peripatetic Coffin, and we’re pleased to announce the winners: Will McClure (@WillMcClure) Elizabeth Eaves (@ElisabethEaves) Trisha Ellen (@TrishaEllen1) Congrats! To claim your free copy, please email us at the following address: winners [at] If you’d like to be eligible for future giveaways, please visit our Twitter Page and “follow” us! Thanks to all of you who are fans. We appreciate your support. Let us know your favorite new books out there!

Interviews |

The Kind of Sentences I Would Want to Read: Part I of an Interview with Jonathan Callahan

Acclaimed fiction writer Rick Moody speaks with debut author Jonathan Callahan, author of The Consummation of Dirk, which won the 8th Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction, about “conventional” writing, accomplishing something that makes one “feel worthy to be alive,” and influences, among other things. They have never met.

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Stories We Love: "Revenge," by Ellen Gilchrist

Why is “Revenge” so gleeful, so wicked, so charming? It’s 1943 in the Mississippi Delta. Rhoda’s older brother Dudley and their cousins have built a broad-jump pit in the pasture, where every day they practice for the Olympics. They won’t let Rhoda play, and she has a series of tantrums until her older cousin Lauralee comes home for a quickie war wedding and asks Rhoda to be her maid of honor. After the wedding, Rhoda gets into the Crème de Menthe and sneaks away from the reception, leaves her fancy new dress in a pile, and finally gets to try […]

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Book of the Week: The Peripatetic Coffin, by Ethan Rutherford

This week’s feature is Ethan Rutherford’s debut collection, The Peripatetic Coffin, which was published earlier this month by Ecco. Ethan Rutherford was born in Seattle, and now lives in the Midwest. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, One Story, American Short Fiction, New York Tyrant, Esopus, Five Chapters, and The Best American Short Stories. He received his MFA from the University of Minnesota, and has taught creative writing at Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, and the Loft Literary Center. He is the guitarist for the band Pennyroyal. He is currently at work on a novel set […]

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Stories We Love: The Great Salt Gift of Alistair MacLeod’s “The Boat”

In February of 2002, I drove north with my pregnant wife from our home in Maine to the distant coast of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. The journey took two days. My wife’s family owned a small cottage in the village of Inverness, and the cottage hunkered on a hillside overlooking the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Inverness was a desolate, frozen lunarscape that winter—the wind rushed in off the ocean day and night, Osprey hung in the ashen sky, and the air was thick with salt. The sky and the sea merged into a single cold, gray wall erasing the […]

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