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Ghost in the Graveyard

“I put the shovel into the ground, stepped down, and turned the earth loose like he had shown me.” Dating an outdoorsy type gets strange in a short story by Tayler Heuston.

The Vise

“When he looked up, everyone was staring at him. There was no talking during dinner, just the impressive sound of many forks and knives being utilized at once.” After his father’s death and mother’s breakdown, a young boy is taken to stay with relatives in this excerpt from Lori Ostlund‘s debut novel, After the Parade.

Where Judges Walk

“They squeezed their mouths tight against wheeling cinders, moustaches gathering bits of ash. Letters to post, women to find. Laudanum, too. Pay stubs!—now that would soothe an ache.” Timber workers travel from the forest into town in this excerpt from Matthew Neill Null‘s debut novel, Honey from the Lion.

Farthing Street

“I lose words, become silent as a conservation of energy, stare at things as if they hold me upright,” writes essayist Trace Ramsey in this exploration of paternal postnatal depression and recovery. “Having a new child magnifies all of this to levels I never thought could exist.”

A Magic of Bags

“Sometimes, she was sure of it: she would create no family, no children, nothing but herself.” A teenage misfit makes her way in Harlem in “A Magic of Bags,” a story from Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s forthcoming collection, Blue Talk and Love.

The Long Life Hotel

“She felt an inkling—just the faintest tingle—then, of something gone wrong inside her; a small, vile thing, just beginning to grow.” A mother travels to Vietnam for a favorite son’s wedding in a story by Meaghan Mulholland.

The Big Father Essay

“Whenever I peeked into his room at night, there he lay, open-mouthed, those frightening white feet kicked free of sheets.” Inspired by Joe Brainard, Jeff Oaks invents a form for generating truths.

The Sea Palaces

“Before Liberation, emperors had idled there, among pleasure grounds of lakes and pavilions, and it was said you couldn’t look directly into its gates or your vision would blur.” Third Daughter is recruited for a ballroom dance troupe at the home of the Chairman in this excerpt from Vanessa Hua’s novel-in-progress.

Ghosts of the Mississippi

“Their affection, any love—good or bad—had me. I was the fool for love.” Ben Miller remembers his induction into an exclusive, eccentric group of writers in the prologue to his forthcoming book, River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa.


“Our stories delight us intensely, yet often fail us, or come to an end.” An excerpt from The Beauty Experiment, a new memoir by Phoebe Baker Hyde.