Jim Shepard, "Trample the Dead, Hurdle the Weak"

Personal problems should be ignored in this cutthroat small town high school football culture.

(from Harper’s Magazine, September 2005)

Beautiful in an honest way, and effortlessly intense. Might be the best thing I’ve ever read about football, but that’s fainter praise than I intended because I am no interested in football and I’m sure I’ve mostly avoided reading about it. This isn’t a let’s-go-underdogs story or a humanize-the-jocks story, but it does have you rooting for its characters, if only because they’re imbued with a depth usually reserved for the nerds they surely prey on. But their flaws and psychological fucked-uppednesses are also laid bare to inspire all the appropriate loathing. This story is pretty right on.

I Read A Short Story Today maintains simultaneously enthusiasms for both Roy Kesey and George Saunders. If you do too, you might be interested in this article, wherein the former interviews the latter. No, isn’t going to become that kind of blog.

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