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The Paris Review Fall 2018

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

1 min
aēsop® and the paris review

It is our pleasure to partner with The Paris Review in offering this esteemed quarterly for purchase at select Aesop spaces around the globe. You will find each new edition of The Paris Review at thirty Aesop stores globally, including signature stores on Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris; on Oberdorfstrasse, Zürich; and in Mitte, Berlin. It is also available at aesop.com in Australia, the UK and the Americas. Discover more about this literary partnership at aesop.com Aesop Chelsea, a collaborative project with The Paris Review designed as a tribute to our passion for the written word.…

3 min
editor’s note

DEAR READER: Welcome, or welcome back. I’m thrilled to share with you the Fall 2018 issue of The Paris Review. As the new editor, I’ve enjoyed spending my first months at the helm assembling this issue, and also getting to know the readers and writers who care so deeply for this institution. Turns out you can make a lot of friends in sixty-five years, and I’m very thankful for the warm reception. Michael S. Harper, an early mentor of mine, liked to remind me of Ralph Ellison’s maxim, “Geography is fate.” I had recently moved across the country for the first time, and he saw I was at once homesick and hungry for the new, looking back toward one horizon and forward to the next. I’ve crossed the country, and an ocean…

27 min
the freshening

My cashier’s black hair was beautiful. Though not unlike mine, it was shinier and thicker, and hung glamorously down to her waist. It looked strong, too, like Christopher Reeve’s in the Superman movies. A strand of Superman’s silvery hair could hold up a thousand-pound weight. As a child, I watched them over and over; they were my favorite. Superman’s hair, holding up the weight, looks as thick as a wire; a whole head of his hairs must have been heavy. But Superman’s neck was so strong, I figured, the weight of his head didn’t matter. “Enjoy your last evening,” my cashier said, adding “last” to distinguish this day, the same blithe way somebody might add “Happy holidays” to an email in December. With one hand, she flipped her lustrous hair off…

2 min
two poems

IN THE TEMPLE BASEMENT Standing in the ladies’ room line, in the temple basement, the woman in front of me said, “I’ve been sitting behind you, admiring your hair.” “Thank you! White for Rosh Hashanah!” I say, and then, “It was a gift from my mother.” I love to say my mother to someone I imagine as a normal person—though who knows. And I love to see cut flowers age—we are cut flowers, when they sever the cord, we beginour dying. She lived to be eighty-five, I needed every hour of it.Each time I made her laugh on the phone, that warm gurgle—and she couldn’t reach out with her long curved polished nails, to stroke me— we were making something together, like a girl-made mountain stream amongSierra onion, and lupine, stonecrop…

2 min
lost glass

People desired things they didn’t know they wanted. Angry voices, heat,emergencies. That was a summer. Isn’t there anything you can take? she said.She meant, I’m tired of your suffering. The rustle of the pigeons;a woman doing laundry, unfurling the white rippling sheet. Thick windmade a timpani of an empty can bouncing down the street,until it was silenced beneath the wheel of a bus. We made love,if you want to call it that, once that month.I had a dream in which a voice said, Make a mountain of this work, something that can be climbed. It devolvedinto strangeness—owly skies, fiddling hands, small firesburning against a vastness. The man with the red tin boxI passed each day going to the office: I never caught his eye,though I tried. Los Angeles, I thought,…

35 min
the art of fiction no. 241

Penelope Lively was born to British parents in Cairo in 1933, where her father was assistant to the director of the National Bank of Egypt. She spent the first twelve years of her life in the Egyptian capital, a childhood “no more—or less—interesting than anyone else’s,” she writes in her 1994 memoir, Oleander, Jacaranda, though it was marked by the notable characteristic of being British in Egypt and “learning how to perceive the world in the ambience of a quite different culture.” That childhood came to what Lively calls “an abrupt and traumatic end” in 1945, when she was taken to England and enrolled in boarding school, “a grim rite of passage.” Lively has never written extensively about her adolescence. “Ah yes, that extraordinary business of the malevolence of teenage…