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What I read

What I read – Week of Mar 01, 2020

Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/440930619744165186/

Mostly short stories from a few magazines: especially *Electric Lit* and *Fabula Argentea*. Some stories I particularly enjoyed:

  1. Peter Kispert’s “In the palm of his hand” is an urbane story of ambition, vanity, self-centredness, and moral emptiness. Only when the narrator falls does he experience any urge to connect with another person.
    https://electricliterature.com/in-the-palm-of-his-hand-peter-kispert/
  2. Margaret Meehan’s “A beautiful wife is suddenly dead” is a story of suburban boredom, repressed libido, and the willingness of consumer culture and true-crime shows to fill our voids.
    https://electricliterature.com/a-beautiful-wife-is-suddenly-dead-margaret-meehan/
  3. Ross Feeler’s “Parisian Honeymoon” examines the most potent threat that terrorism poses to civilisation: a willingness to play into the game of “them” vs. “us.” The plotting is contrived; but the ending is sharp, subtle irony. As we sleep, our own hatred creeps back and hovers. Watching.
    https://electricliterature.com/parisian-honeymoon-ross-feeler/
  4. Alice Adams’s “Love is a yellow hotel in Yugoslavia” traverses young love, two marriages, and the conflicts of a mother and a teenage daughter in pleasingly meandering fashion.
    https://electricliterature.com/love-is-a-yellow-hotel-in-yugoslavia/
  5. Mario Pilla’s “Gramercy” is, at one level, a gentle sendup of an excess stringency about rules of punctuation; at a deeper, a reminder that though the way we say things changes, the things that matter don’t.
    https://www.fabulaargentea.com/index.php/article/gramercy-by-mario-pilla/
  6. Paul Hardy’s “Whoso pulleth out this sword” is the risk, comic monologue of a kingmaker sword brought down to earth.
    https://www.fabulaargentea.com/index.php/article/whoso-pulleth-out-this-sword-by-paul-r-hardy/
  7. Matt McHugh’s “Well-regulated” asks what’s more important: the right to carry concealed weapons, or the right to information? The characters are flat — stodgy politicians vs. woke tech CEOs; but this speculative piece is a timely commentary on the chasms that open up in civic life when governments lose touch with citizens’ priorities.
    https://www.fabulaargentea.com/index.php/article/well-regulated-by-matt-mchugh/
  8. W. T. Paterson’s “Song of Tinnitus” references *The Matrix*, *Woman in White*, *The Machinist*, and *Inception* to good effect for an out-of-left-field horror story.
    https://www.novelnoctule.com/post/song-of-tinnitus-by-w-t-paterson
  9. On *100-Word Stories* magazine, I particularly enjoyed: Kim Addonizio’s “Mysteries of sex” (even masturbation is emotionally complicated) and “Plans” (who needs to meet friends, when we can get what we need right here at home?); Adam Schuitema’s “Palm funeral” (with climate change, the earth is wizening long before it will die); and Heather Bourbeau’s “The quiet sadism of the powerless” (overwhelmed by tragedy, the narrator is frustrated at the lack of something too small to kill).
    http://www.100wordstory.org/category/stories/
  10. In Chestnut Review’s Summer 2019 Issue, I enjoyed the sole short story, Laura Gill’s “Mary and Martha” — a series of vignettes analysing the role that religion, persistent patriarchy, sisterly rivalry, and admiration play in relationships between women. It isn’t enough for women to give, and give, and give — they must also abandon their work, fawn, and trust to faith when god/man shows up.
    http://10. https://chestnutreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ChestnutReview1-1.pdf

If you read any of these stories, I’d love to know what you think!

Read anything interesting this week? I’d love to get recommendations for short stories / literary magazines.

By Amita Basu

I'm a writer based in Bangalore, India.

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