Letters from the Samantha

by Steve Danziger

1. The kids are twelve, thirteen years old, seated in an odd configuration, a sort of mutated pentagon. There is some event elsewhere in the city, so the classes are small today. A boy whose eyes are so puffy with...

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The Execution

by Joyce Carol Oates

She'd said, You will have to speak with your father . . . I can't intercede for you any longer. He left the Delt-Sig house at 1:20 a.m. which was later than he'd planned . . . Half the house...

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To an Unknown Little Girl

by Robert Musil translated by Genese Grill

Unknown little girl! Because I do not know you, I am writing to you through the newspaper. Indeed, as I consider the circumstances of our meeting, it becomes clear to me that I am writing to someone who no longer...

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The Jews of Pinsk: 1881-1941, by Azriel Shohet. Pinsk History Shakes Me Again

by Mark Jay Mirsky

In writing and thinking about the great figures in the world of fiction who have influenced me most, I am always drawn back to realize how engaged they are in the world of history, my second great love after literature....

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From "The Business of Writing" edited by Jennifer Lyons with a Forward by Oscar Hijuelos, published by Allworth Press, New York, 2012

by Mark Jay Mirsky

When I am asked by writers what I look for in submissions to Fiction, I generally look blank. This is because I try to read the stories that come across my desk without preconceptions. I don't have a formula in...

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Kakua

by Lawrence Osborne

Cassidy Sarah O'Brian was past thirty eight and already divorced when she decided to write her thesis on the language of the Outer Citak. They were a remote people of the Maukele forests closely related to the Inner Citak and,...

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Knitting

by Jamaica Kincaid

Oh, and she was so beautiful, I was so ashamed to be seen with her; she had very long hair and she wore it rolled up and pinned to her head as if it was a kind of treasure and...

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Robert Musil: "Attempts to Find Another Human Being"

Robert Musil: "Attempts to Find Another Human Being" This site is intended as an informal space to share international discourse on the Austrian novelist, essayist, dramatist, scientist, mathematician, and thinker, Robert Musil, on his works, and his growing reception, and...

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Little Brother

by Kesi Bem Foster

He could feel his brother watching him from the doorway as he played video games. He heard his brother's cast thump the linoleum floor as he made his way over to their room. Hunched over, sitting on the edge of...

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Editor's Statement

by Mark Mirsky

As the editor of Fiction, I have been frustrated by our inability to bring out more issues annually and devote a larger number of pages to all the fiction that is submitted to us or that we could publish with pleasure. Our mission is to extend the experiment in writing that questions the border between fantasy and reality; and to find worlds of imagination in cities and countries that are hardly known, or not known at all.

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Fiction remembers Dorothea Straus

by Mark Mirsky

Last summer, one of the staunchest admirers of Fiction, Dorothea Straus, passed away. Several years before that, sensing how fragile she was in the wake of her distinguished husband, the publisher Roger Straus's death, I went out to their historic mansion in Westchester to film her reading one of her stories. Roger had rebuilt the house after a fire. The grounds, which spread with the largesse of a great baronial estate, were the home of a family whose public contributions to the United States was writ large.

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Max Frisch at the City College of New York, 1981 (audio)

by Mark Mirsky

I hope in the future to write a number of pages about my friendship with Max Frisch and his wife Marianne (the latter remains the European Editor of Fiction). In previous issues of Fiction during the 1980's (Volumes 7.3, 8.1 and 9.2) we published the text of the two Jacob C. Saposnekow Lectures that Max Frisch delivered at City College in the fall of 1981, as well as some brief extracts from transcriptions of the Question and Answer periods and the Writer's Forum on the third day, November 5th, 1981.

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Coral Fernández

by Silvina Ocampo

Her name was Coral Fernández; she always wore her hair over her left ear, leaving the right one uncovered. She was so pretty that at first I thought she was foolish.

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Downward Drifting

by Patricia Schultheis

We cleaned for our mothers. Off boats and kerchiefed, they stood at conveyor belts, boxing brassieres or culling cartridges, their hands growing cramped, their ankles swollen, until, shift over, they scarcely could climb onto buses and ride to third-floor flats whose mean little rooms we, their daughters, had cleaned.

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Open Letter On Our Numbering Switch

by Fiction

Dear Friends of Fiction,

As many of you have noticed, we have moved to a new numbering system for our print issue. While we understand and regret the confusion this has caused, please be certain that we did not take this change from our old system of numbering (Volume # Issue #) lightly.

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Editor's Reading List

by Mark Mirsky

Babel, Isaac - Collected Short Stories

Bachman, Ingeborg - The Thirtieth Year

Baldwin, James - Go Tell It On the Mountain

Barth, John - End of the Road

Barth, John- Lost in the Funhouse

Barth, John - The Book of Ten Nights and a Night

Barthelme, Donald - Come Back, Dr. Caligari

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From Autonauts of the Cosmoway

by Julio Cortázar

The plan becomes concrete

In the autumn of 1978, the basic idea of the expedition had been established, with the following rules of the game:

1. Complete the journey from Paris to Marseilles without once leaving the autoroute.

2. Explore each one of the rest areas, at the rate of two per day, spending the night in the second one without exception.

3. Carry out scientific topographical studies of each rest area, taking note of all pertinent observations.

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Editor's Reading List

by Mark Mirsky

The first 15 titles from Editor Mark Jay Mirsky's Reading List:

Aciman, Andre - Out of Egypt (Riverhead Books)

Astrov, Margot - The Winged Serpent (American. Indian Prose and Poetry)

Achebe, Chinua - No Longer at Ease

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart

Aeschylus - The Oresteia Lattimore trans. (Note: Link is to Johnston translation.)

Agnon, S.Y. - Twenty-one Stories/Selected Stories

Aleichem, Sholom - Collected Stories/Selected Stories

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Lecture at CCNY, November 1981

by Max Frisch

This will be tiring for you, I know, and sometimes perhaps a little funny, because of my English pronunciation. So we can recuperate now and then, I will use quite a lot of quotes and the quotes you will hear in perfect English.

Let me say it at once: I have no theory. We have a choice of fascinating aesthetic theories from Aristotle to Roland Barthes, not excluding the Marxist thinkers, Walter Benjamin, Lukacs, Adorno, etc. That a theory does or doesn't help us in our work isn't what decides its value. I know that. It wasn't Aristotle who taught Aeschylus and Sophocles how to write tragedies. But don't misunderstand me. I have nothing against theory. It's just that I myself don't have one.

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On Handke's A Sorrow Beyond Dreams

by Mark Mirsky

In a complex (though damning) review of Peter Handke's "Crossing the Sierra Los Gredos," in the August 19, 2007 issue of the New York Times Sunday Book Review, one line caught my eye, and raised a vigorous "No, unfair!"

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