Lara Vapnyar, "Puffed Rice and Meatballs"

Katya figures there are some stories you tell and some you save for yourself.

(from The O. Henry Prize Stories 2006)

Now as I was typing that description, I nearly shuddered. Because this is not some creative-process-exploring meta story, or at least it isn’t in any overt way. People of earth, I’m moving away from my distaste for meta and into full-blown disgust. I just saw Lady in the Water and, well, there’s this character named Story stringing everybody along and blah blah blah barf. Listen: “Puffed Rice and Meatballs” is sort of a story about storytelling, but it’s not a story about writing, so yay, parades, strike up the band.
What’s it a story about for real? Well, how’s this for vague? It’s about things. About how what you own (which sex organs, what clothes, what foods) can change who you think you are. It sounds lame when I say it like that, but it’s not. This story is strange and sharp and thoughtful.

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