Fiction 2008

The Atlantic - Fiction 2008

Stories by Wendell Berry, Mark Fabiano, Cristina Henríquez, Aryn Kyle, Jess Row, Julie Schumacher, plus new voices in American fiction.

  • Patient, Female

    I don’t let them forget anything. I tell them to remember it alphabetically: breasts, cervix, ovaries, uterus. Lying on my back, I take them through it, one exam at a time.

  • Russet

    Fall apples, browning apple cores, the mottled carcass. of an old trolley car, abandoned. deep in the forest. What was once ambitious, robust,…

  • Music Is Time

    Music is time, said the violin master. You can’t miss the stop or you’ll miss the train. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one,…

  • Sketchbook

         Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1635 Because so often he has entered the body, its torso, freshly sanitized, its legs and arteries, the red…

  • Today’s Meditation: The Sadness of the Subtropics

    Rain won’t let go this afternoon. Palm fronds wear the water like a glove. They do not wave: there is nothing to wave at. They shudder, they…

  • Event Horizon

    A sneeze; a gull; an argument; a trip; a finger bleeding from an envelope. whose clasp turned out to be sharp as a knife. so blood welling from my…

  • Hammer

    This steel may well outlive you. The kiss of its cool, aching head— ring-stunned, dumb and frozen. The handle is no matter. When it splinters…

  • Summertime

    When we tried to blast free of Earth’s pull, whirling debris hammered us in near space— a toaster, a blender, spare parts to satellites,…

  • The Piano Tuner

    says wolf tones on stringed instruments howl. in resonance, like spaces between leptons and quarks, interstitial loops from which viruses and…

  • Bower Bird

    Audio: Hear Caki Wilkinson read this poem aloud. Old news, the midnight warblers worrisome. to introspective bards, the nagging taps. and jugs…

  • Obituary

    The marina had a proposition for him. They wanted him to leave, and they were willing to pay him to do it.

  • The Second Coming of Gray Badger

    “Dad’s real proud of you,” I said. “Said it’s too bad you’re a thief, though. You could have done something good.”

  • Stand By Me

    What Jarrat had in his life were sorrow, stubbornness, silence, and work. So when his sons needed him most, their daddy didn’t have much to offer.

  • We Are All Businessmen

    Ranil wanted a company scholarship for his son, and would do what he must to make the American executive feel well cared for.

  • Carmen Elcira: A (Love) Life

    “You left because you thought I was weak,” Joseph said. “What you didn’t know was that you were the person who was going to make me strong.”

  • Nine

    If Tess takes ballet lessons, Meredith will give Tess tights and toe shoes, and marry Tess’s father. She will stay forever.

  • My Life In Sales

    A month of living in a suitcase, eating in airports, and cracking your forehead open against hotel-room walls in the middle of the night often comes to very little. But the only thing worse than going on book tour is not going.

  • Amritsar

    Tom wanted him to be prepared, to know what he was up against. But Gurukha didn’t want a pistol in his house. He wanted to move on, to be done with India, and with Amritsar.

  • The Poet's Poet

    Mary Jo Salter talks about her new collection, Phone Call to the Future; editing The Norton Anthology of Poetry; and her early days as an assistant poetry editor at The Atlantic.

  • Of Horses and Children

    Aryn Kyle talks about the American West as a character, writing from a child's perspective, and her debut novel, The God of Animals

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

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