New Stories from the Midwest: 2012
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New Stories from the Midwest presents a collection of stories that celebrate an American region too often ignored in discussions about distinctive regional literature. The editors solicited nominations from more than 300 magazines, literary journals, and small presses and narrowed the selection to 19 authors. The stories, written by Midwestern writers or focusing on the Midwest, demonstrate that the quality of fiction from and about the heart of the country rivals that of any other region. Guest editor John McNally introduces the anthology, which features short fiction by Charles Baxter, Dan Chaon, Christopher Mohar, Rebecca Makkai, Lee Martin, and others.
right here on the sidewalk.” Their eyes met. She was still his older sister, though she was also a tiny librarian woman with short hair and a pointy face, and he was an unemployed sasquatch of a man a foot and a half taller than she. She handed the dollar back to him. “Yikes,” she said. “Geez, Critter, you’re quite the magnet for freaky notes lately, aren’t you?” He was, yes. A magnet, he thought, as they drove back to Joni’s house. That was one way to look at it. He’d found the first note a few
sits down on one of the chairs in the kitchen part of the front room. The chairs are spaced out around an imaginary table that I have never gotten around to actually buying. He says, “All I remember is being on the bridge. I wanted to jump off it and make them change that fucking sign, but I came back home, to say sorry first. I guess I passed out.” He exhales loudly, puffing out his cheeks, then says, “Sorry.” I sit down at one of the other chairs, and say, “Jimmy, listen. You keep trying to get
confronts him upon their third meeting, recognizing him from the two previous encounters. Theo walks the maze once a week, the amnesiac notes, 48 Michael Czyzniejewski to troubleshoot. He makes sure no paths are blocked by fallen stalks. He looks for lost items, which he will put in a box near the counter back in the market. He checks on the progress of the corn, measuring height, palming an ear to determine its weight. He looks for lost visitors. I’m a lost visitor, the amnesiac says. I’ve
learn that word, he wants to know. As if I’d be stupid enough to admit that I know some German. That I’ve been studying online while he’s been busy living in Göettingen on his dad’s chemistry fellowship. Everyone knows that, I say. He squints at me. Can I borrow those? I tell him no but then I hand him the goggles anyway. He puts them on and goes underwater but doesn’t stay long. After accusing me of having a watermelon head, he has the nerve to ask if I’ll adjust them. I take them and pull the
lightly upon the frozen ground. It was a gray February day, but in no way threatening. “Miss Frances, every bit of me hurts today. I can’t barely move my neck, and that is as sure a sign as any that a storm’s coming.” “I am sorry for your discomfort, but my neck feels fine, and the sooner I get going the sooner I can return. Now, I am certain that you have something better to do than . . .” A call across the yard from Jack Shaw to “wait only,” interrupted Frances. Silently, Frances and Little