Sarah Manguso, "1-39"

Lots of people think lots of ways about things.

(from Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape)

Our partners wait for us on opposite coasts while in the country we become friends, knowing transgression is impossible. We swim together every afternoon, changing clothes demurely under our towels. One night the man tels a story and strokes my face to illustrate what someone did once. Despite myself I close my eyes during the touch, and afterward explain to the man and to myself that my response to the touch was just a physical reflex. Now we arm wrestle sometimes. I feel close to this man yet do not want sex with him, as he must certainly shrink from the possibility of sex with me. But I think about maybe falling asleep with him, touching hardly at all, waking up together as if something has been consummated.

Yeah, kinda hard to sum up, since this is really a post about 39 really short short stories (from that McSweeney’s mini box set thing). Know what, none of these paragraph-long little things disappointed me. Some were funny, and most had a pleasant conundrum or part where the character either grew or reconsidered or thought twice about something. Above, I’ve typed up my favorite so far, number 29.

One thought on “Sarah Manguso, "1-39"

  1. Matt

    I’ve only started reading the Eggers part of this boxed set so far, but it’s very good. I’m glad to see the other two are enjoyable as well.


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