Steven Millhauser, “In The Reign of Harad IV”

2006_04_10_p323A master of miniatures devotes himself to ever-smaller pursuits.

(from The New Yorker, April 10, 2006)

Despite the absence of visible evidence, he was certain of its formal perfection, of the elegant precision of its parts—never had he taken so much care.

A neat little story. This guy just keeps carving tinier creations — each improbably intricate and detailed — and eventually dedicates himself to making things even he cannot see. It’s not an emperor’s new clothes kind of deal; in fact, there isn’t a lesson here, as far as I can tell. Just an engrossing and brief of artistry and obsession. I think the fact that the title is pulled from from the first sentence is telling in that regard. This story is what it appears to be. You can read it here.

My office as work is a mess, so I’ve decided to try to chip away at the pile of old New Yorkers I have lying around.


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