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The Paris Review Fall 2019

The Paris Review publishes the best fiction, poetry, art, and essays from new and established voices, and the Writers at Work interviews offer some of the most revealing self-portraits in literature.

United States
The Paris Review Foundation, Inc.
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min
susannah hunnewell 1966–2019

The Paris Review lost a dear friend when Susannah Hunnewell, the publisher of the magazine, passed away on June 15. Susannah and I were once invited to a party. We met in the park at sunset and she decided, on a lark, that we should take a horse-drawn carriage. She kept asking the driver to make another turn, go farther uptown, east, then south and back, it was so beautiful, the buildings in the gold light towering around us. I’d lived in New York for twelve years but never ridden in a carriage. Much of the time I spent with Susannah was in a kind of enchantment, talking about the small literary magazine that we cared about inordinately. We surprised ourselves by how personal this journal became to us, how much we…

38 min
last rites

ANUK ARUDPRAGASAM It was a little past four in the afternoon, the light softer now and more diffuse, the intensity of the day’s heat beginning to wane, and standing by himself in a corner of the garden Krishan was observing the people gathered in Rani’s house for the funeral, somewhat unnerved, after his long and meditative journey, by how quickly he’d found himself in this place so different from his point of origin, this setting that, despite conforming to all his abstract expectations, had nevertheless managed to catch him off guard. The sense of calm, peaceful self-containment he’d felt on the train had remained with him on the bus during the quiet, two-hour ride from the Kilinochchi station, and it had persisted too on his walk from the bus stop, as…

3 min
two poems by kevin prufer

I HAVE VOTED The dogs tipped the garbage and the meat spilled outthe larger dog sniffed itthe smaller stood to the side and growled the meat quivered on the floorI’d kept it too long it wasslick and fat it had expired all this while I stood in lineand then the ballot machine glowed greenlyyes yes yes I told it while the large dog licked the meatlifted it gingerly with its mouthdropped it wetly to the floor and America I said walking home fromthe high school gymnasiumI love you I am your son I have voted while the two dogs circled the messgrowling oh my beautiful country a bolt gunreduces an animal instantly to unconsciousness no painsays the handbook called Bolt StunningTechniques for Cattle— Draw an X from the topsof the eyes to the tipsof the horns the bolt…

40 min
the art of fiction no. 244

ALICE McDERMOTT Before I met Alice McDermott, I’d heard a story: when her students became distracted with excitement after she won the National Book Award for Charming Billy (1998), she settled the class down by offering a hundred dollars to anyone who remembered the last winner. As the rumor went, she kept her money. Not one M.F.A. student of fiction could recall the winner or the book (Charles Frazier, for Cold Mountain). This is a revealing wager from a writer as recognized by awards committees as McDermott; her novel That Night (1987) was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Pulitzer Prize; At Weddings and Wakes (1992) was also a finalist for the Pulitzer. Charming Billy won an American Book Award as well as the National Book…

2 min
two poems by mary szybist

THE MOLTEN SAINTS INSIDE ME DO NOT QUIET Like an alarm I can’t shut off, the summer.Like air raid sirens stuck onthe world is burning, the world is burning& I can’t stop it. Can’t stop ash from the reddening sky falling dry onto grass, onto cloverlit purple at their tips. Mouth level.My cheek muscles the ground. I can’t hear anything here. I can’t hearthem but I know, around me,forests are not quiet as they burn. As they burn, the saints inside memake their noise. Degrees, decibelsrising. When will I listen?To emergency, when will I be true? Already ash flecks my arms, gathersin my open ear its slowpress. Where is my pilgrimage, myprotest? When will I get up? Get up, they say. The sun fumes pink.My saints pour through me, blarethrough me, thickening in their rattle— My saints,…

2 min
garden magic

DIANE WILLIAMS I took a step further to meet Horace for health, for love, for a leg up. And at Horace’s everything was gray there with some white accents—and the walls were gray, not paint. They were hung with fabric and he had a gray carpet on the floor. Once, before I knew him well, I asked Horace to dinner, and after that he was always saying he’d be right over for a chicken dinner, but usually I visited him in his apartment across the street. His place was very tidy and a bit surprising. He showed me his sword cane and the living room features an owl that’s made of poultry feathers. This is a snowy owl that contains no real owl parts, but when I saw it for the first time—I had to…