Monthly Archives: December 2008

Kelly Link, "The Wrong Grave"

A boy wants to dig up his ex-girlfriend’s grave to get the book of poems he’d tucked into her coffin at the wake.

(from Pretty Monsters)

Poor Miles, digging up the wrong grave. Or digging up the right grave, but not knowing enough to know it. I really like this story. It was fantastical and spooky, but weirdly comfortable. A clever, strange mix of Roald Dahl and Edward Gorey, maybe. Awesome.
I bought my signed copy of Pretty Monsters directly from the author herself at the Indie and Small Press Book Fair on Sunday. Here’s Kelly Link’s homepage.

Benjamin Markovits, "Another Sad, Bizarre Chapter in Human History"

Sam was destined for pro sports, if only he’d have a growth spurt.

(from The Paris Review, Fall 2008)

There was a hard edge to his look of careless happiness; you didn’t want to run into it.

This is an interesting story about a certain kind of coming of age. I don’t believe I’ve ever read something about this very recognizable phenomenon, the young sports star left behind by his genes, his natural talents eventually getting stunted by his natural, invisible limitations.

Colum McCann, "Phreak"

A tightrope walker walks between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. At the same time, some early hackers call a phone nearby and ask onlookers what they see.
(from Paris Review, Fall 2008)

Up there, at the height of a hundred and ten stories, utterly still, a dark toy against the cloudy sky.
He could only be seen at certain angles. The watchers had to pause at street corners, find a gap between buildings, or meander from the shadows to get a view unobstructed by cornicework, gargoyles, balustrades, roof edges. None of them had yet made sense of the line strung at his feet from one tower to the other. Rather, it was the manshape that held them there, their necks craned, torn between the promise of doom and the disappointment of the ordinary.

I really enjoyed this story, though the hacker stuff made no sense to me. Why were they calling? How did they know the guy was going to be at the WTC that day? Did I miss something? Somebody else out there read it, you tell me. I especially dug the tightrope walker passages that begin and end the story. Read the beginning here.