Lesser Missiles

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We smelled smoke and, out the window, embers rose in the night.

We got out of bed and pulled the red alarm box in the hallway and went outside.

From across the street, we watched fire destroy our apartment building. The woman who lived down the hall from us wore a nightgown and fanned herself with a magazine and shook her head. We found a motel nearby, mostly used by military girlfriends and wives. Then we walked to the beach.

This was Oxnard, a coastal city in Southern California near Port Hueneme and in a severe drought. Dry sugar beet farms stretched out from two military bases and the Kavli Foundation that supports the advancement of science. […]

Your Father

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All of this is occasioned by a telephone call from my dad:

I sit down on the couch, flip on the tube, and descend the cable channels to the low double-digits, where I find the red-jowled faces of men trapped inside too-tight sport coats going on at length about this player or that, and I know I’ve landed on the run-up to a baseball game. I have an immediate gut reaction to these men because, as it happens, I’m under imminent threat of getting my face slammed into my own locker by letterman-wearing jocks who, no doubt, will become less successful versions of the men I’m watching here on the tube. […]

Web Exclusive Interview: Jensen Beach

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David Foster Wallace said that fiction is “one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved.” In our March Web Exclusive story, “To God Belongs What He Has Taken,” Jensen Beach deftly places us in the mind of a Stockholm woman caught up in a fantasy about a stranger. It is a subtle and detailed snapshot of a form of loneliness so universal that […]

Web Exclusive Interview: Kathryn Scanlan

Photo credit: Roxane Hopper

Winter is a time for compression—shortened days, confinement indoors, a turning inward. But compression produces something nuclear-hot and energetic, and our February Web Exclusive, “The Hungry Valley,” is a stellar example of this. Author Kathryn Scanlan helps us explore how this is achieved in writing.

“The Hungry Valley” also appears in our Winter issue. […]

Winston

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He killed a hare and removed its heels, yanked from the meat of each haunch the bone he did not know to be the tibia. He laid the leg bones parallel on the flattest nearby stone and split the wide end of both with one press of his Bowie. He set each in a convenient niche that was the absence of a second premolar, sucked loose marrow while he worked skinning the leporid and stringing it above a new fire, his lips pinned back by the bones. […]

An Interview with Angela Flournoy

Photo by LaToya T. Duncan

Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House follows one large Detroit family struggling to do right by one another while also figuring out what to do about the family home, which is on the brink of foreclosure. It’s a tender look the messiness of sibling relationships set against the backdrop of a slumping economy and the then-emerging housing crisis of 2008. The novel was recently named a finalist for the National Book Award […]

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