Posts Categorized: Fiction

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Online Feature: “Conversation with Thorax” by Alissa Nutting

It began as a blind date. I nearly didn’t approach the table when I saw him sitting alone at the table we’d agreed on—the one on the left wall next to the bathrooms. I always insist upon this table for blind dates in case I need to cut the night short by feigning diarrhea.

He was a pale and prominently jointed man, each of his bones exaggerated by thinness. As we chatted, I stared at the huge knuckles on his fingers—they made me think of doorknobs positioned in the middle of long, white socks. He moved them constantly, every digit on his hand, working them across the table’s surface as though he were typing. They were industrious. He made neat, geometric piles of the crumbs left by his soda crackers. Small bits of napkin were grouped to look like a hill of salt.

He was an entomologist. He studied bugs.

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Online Feature: “The Parable of the Fish” by Marilyn Chin

The IU Arts & Humanities Council will host writer Marilyn Chin next week for China Remixed, IU’s first Global Arts & Humanities Festival.

Indiana Review is proud to share a story she originally published with us in Indiana Review 24.1, Spring 2002.

The delightful music paired with the matter-of-factness of the Grandmother explaining the history of oppression, takes us through a deep personal history. We land on the preparation of a delicious carp deftly, with a gut punch at the end of “The Parable of the Fish,” with a mastery of exactitude present in all of Marilyn Chin’s work.

 — Su Cho, Editor

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Grandmother, how do you know that the fish are happy? Irreverent polyp-of-a-child, how do you know that I don’t know that the fish are happy? Well, grandma, you’re not a fish. You cannot know what fish know. Well, my ignorant gnat-of-a-girl, you are not I, how do you know that I don’t know what fish know.

One day she fetched me from school and said, “Let’s take a stroll through our honorable mayor Willie Brown’s mansion. The Gold Mountain News said that he wants all of his citizens to visit his new Japanese water garden.” So we took the #25 bus and transferred to a #85 bus at the Montgomery station where she bought me a cold can of Coke from a machine. I knew that it was going to be a special day.
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Online Feature: “The Head Bodyguard Holds His Head in His Hands” by Lincoln Michel

When the Dictator settles on a day of shopping, the head bodyguard notifies the store twenty minutes in advance. In this way, assassination plots are eluded. The Dictator arrives in a black limousine along with his four favorite bodyguards. The head bodyguard sits in the front seat and lazily scans the tops of buildings for any glints that might signify a sniper rifle or bazooka. The Dictator reclines in the backseat between two of the other bodyguards—two brothers, in fact—and sips a small cup of single malt Scotch and water. Sometimes he will substitute the Scotch for an obscure brand of grape soda he has consumed since childhood, although only if the Dictator thinks that the bodyguards will not be able to guess the contents of his drink. This is why the Dictator only drinks from black mugs.
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Hoosier Journal Spotlight: Sycamore Review and “We Welcome All Sorts” by Heather Lefebvre

This spring, Indiana Review will be conducting interviews with other Indiana journals. We are driven by a few questions:  What does it mean to be a Midwestern or Hoosier journal? What does it mean to be a member of a literary community? What are our Hoosier neighbors up to? What do they seek for their publications?

I had the pleasure of meeting members of the Sycamore Review staff at a Writers Resist event in Bloomington, where I got to admire their gorgeous print editions. Here is our inaugural interview with Sycamore Review‘s Editor-in-Chief, Anthony Paul Sutton, with one of their favorite published stories included at the end.

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Online Feature: “Winds and Clouds Over a Funeral” by Ha Jin

The IU Arts & Humanities Council was lucky enough this week to host the Chinese-American writer Ha Jin for China Remixed, IU’s first Global Arts & Humanities Festival.

Indiana Review is proud to share a story he originally published with us in Indiana Review 17.2, Fall 1994. 

“Winds and Clouds Over a Funeral” well exemplifies Ha Jin’s enduring subject, the ways in which the individual grapples with the state. In this story, he, with a sharp, unsparing eye, examines how the state encroaches on even the most personal of matters, how to bury your dead mother. — Anna Cabe, Web Editor

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Sheng arrived at Gold County to work as a junior clerk in the military department at a large textile mill. Five days later, he was informed that his grandmother had passed away. The departmental chief gave him three days to attend the funeral at home. Sheng went to the bus station at noon and got on a bus bound for Dismal Fort.

He used to enjoy seeing the landscape outside the county town, especially the long reservoir that supplied water for six counties, and the large concrete dam that blocked the gorge of a valley and connected two rocky hills. In the middle of the dam stood a small house like a pillbox with loopholes. When the bus crept on the winding road along the bank, the water would flash like large fish scales in the sun. But today Sheng had no appetite for scenery. He closed his eyes and tried to take a catnap. He didn’t feel very sad, though he loved his grandmother.

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