The Second Annual Fiction Issue

  • Incident At Sokolniki

    The "Songs of the Eastern Slavs" cycle was supposed to be a literary hoax. In the early 19th century, Mérimée put out an entire book called Songs of the Western Slavs, which the whole world (including Pushkin, who translated it) took to be a...

  • Being A Monster

    These stories are part of a novel I'm writing, and the novel is about how we create the idea of utopia, and then what happens to that idea. We start out with a kind of dissatisfaction, something isn't quite right with the world; it's unjust or unfair...

  • Trailer

    Noir is a short novel starring you as Philip M. Noir, Private Investigator. It began as a story about a dockside detective in pursuit of something-like truth or beauty, the ineffable-and became over the course of its writing a kind of...

  • Women Holding Strange Creatures

    These drawings grew from a set of pictures that I did a few years ago of children talking to strange creatures on beaches. They were a bit like illustrations to unwritten stories by E. Nesbit. Then when I revisited them more recently I discovered that...

  • Dolgier

    This novel is set on the Lower East Side. I've been obsessed with the neighborhood my whole life, and this latest incarnation of it as a sort of La Bohème playground is extremely ironic to me. The kids who are down there now-my kids-know it like...

  • Medicine

    This is a story that started off as a confessional letter. I lived in China during my early 20s and until now haven't wanted to write anything about it. "Medicine" appears here as an excerpt from a novel-in-progress about those years.

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  • In Cretaceous Seas

    I tend to flip from OK insomnia to bad insomnia depending on how things in my life are going, and this story came out of a stretch of insomnia as bad as I've had in a while. I'd been struggling with another story for some months by that point, and woke...

  • Voice Of America

    While growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, my father converted to an American brand of Christianity that has its roots somewhere in rural Pennsylvania. A fallout of his new faith was that-unlike in other homes in Nigeria where allegiance was to the former...

  • Absinthe

    This story is based on several drinking sessions that I had the joyous privilege of experiencing in Petersburg a couple of years ago as a guest of a writers' workshop. I will never forget the effects of absinthe and hope that I have a chance to sample...

  • Gary Fisketjon Edits Your Heroes

    Gary Fisketjon is an editor at large and vice president of Knopf. Among the writers he has edited are Raymond Carver, Bret Easton Ellis, Patricia Highsmith, Cormac McCarthy, Jay McInerney, and Tobias Wolff.

  • Vice Comics

    THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER

  • The Satanic Model Of Psychosexual Development

    My initial outline for this story was framed around the five phases of Freud's model of psychosexual development, hence the title. I wanted a story about a child-rearing program designed to create maladjusted sexual deviants. When I was finished I had