"I’ve always written short stories, I’ve always been interested in the form being dictated by the concept, rather than the other way round." Jon McGregor
Posts tagged "Serpent’s Tail"
Pioneers Awake!

Pioneers Awake!

The Director had been pulling strings to get his nephews Mfoumbou Ngoulmoumako, Bissoulou Ngoulmoumako and Dongo-Dongo Ngoulmoumako onto an ideological training course in Pointe-Noire so they could later become section leaders of the National Movement of Pioneers for our orphanage. They still remained under the control of their paternal uncle and particularly under that of...
Something burned here

Something burned here

The cabin was on a steep slope. It was as remote as it was old. An alpine hut from the eighteenth century. The bathroom had been added at a later date, but the living room was still heated by a wood-burning stove. The snow lay heavy on the pitched roof and on the railing at...
The age of nylon/Off the Azores

The age of nylon/Off the Azores

A vast confluence of causes determines the most unlikely result. Forty-eight people, forty-eight agents of uncertainty enfolded within a series of innumerable reasons, fate is always a question of perspective. A modelized aeroplane in which forty-eight story fragments form a world. An impromptu survey whose description goes beyond the very conformity of studies. A census...
A seer is a liar

A seer is a liar

There is a view that some people call ‘narrative identity’. This is the idea that one’s life is a kind of story, with a beginning, a middle and an end. Usually there is some early, defining, traumatic experience and a crisis or crises in the middle (sex, drugs, any form of addiction will serve) from...
She who is not her

She who is not her

I have no idea what time it is. Someone is lying beside me. It’s not her. My head is not my head. She who is not her is actually quite pretty. I’m still drunk. She who is not her is still here. I pull away the covers. She who is not her is still quite...
Freedom suite

Freedom suite

February 1st marks National Freedom Day in the United States. Initiated in the 1940s, the holiday commemorates Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, which banned slavery. Its intent is to “promote good feelings, harmony, and equal opportunity among all citizens and to remember that the United States is a nation dedicated to...
Spats

Spats

The dogs are scratching at the kitchen door. How long, Lydia thinks, has she been lost in the thought of her rival dead? She passes her hand over her eyes, an unconscious effort to push the hot red edge off everything she sees, and goes to the door to let them in. When Ivan confessed...
A wager

A wager

One evening in Toronto, the gods Apollo and Hermes were at the Wheat Sheaf Tavern. Apollo had allowed his beard to grow until it reached his clavicle. Hermes, more fastidious, was clean-shaven, but his clothes were distinctly terrestrial: black jeans, a black leather jacket, a blue shirt. They had been drinking, but it wasn’t the...
David Gates: Mixed emotions

David Gates: Mixed emotions

David Gates’ smart, scary and intoxicatingly funny novel Jernigan, about the destructive downward spiral of a restless, alcoholic recent widower, received ecstatic reviews when first published in 1991, but since fell on hard times in the UK. Serpent’s Tail has now reissued Jernigan alongside Gates’ first new book in sixteen years, the story collection A Hand Reached...
Jami Attenberg: How to be

Jami Attenberg: How to be

Jami Attenberg’s new novel Saint Mazie tells the fictionalised story of one of Manhattan’s real-life heroes of the early 20th century: Mazie Phillips-Gordon, the brassy, big-hearted proprietress of the Venice movie theatre in the Bowery who spent most of her adult life helping the homeless. In 1940 Joseph Mitchell profiled Mazie for the New Yorker – a...