Posts Categorized: Fiction

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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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What My Last Man Did by Andrea Lewis: Excerpts Part 2

What My Last Man Did won the Indiana Review / IU Press 2016 Blue Light Books Prize and is forthcoming from IU Press in March 2017. Read excerpts from two of Andrea’s stories below, and pre-order your copy of What My Last Man Did today!

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Andrea Lewis’s work has appeared in many literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Cutthroat, Cold Mountain Review, and Catamaran Literary Reader. Three of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a founding member of Richard Hugo House, the place for writers in Seattle. She lives with her husband on Vashon Island, Washington. More of her work is available at www.andrealewis.org.

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What My Last Man Did by Andrea Lewis: Excerpts

What My Last Man Did won the Indiana Review / IU Press 2016 Blue Light Books Prize and is forthcoming from IU Press in March 2017. Read excerpts from two of Andrea’s stories below, and pre-order your copy of What My Last Man Did today!

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Andrea Lewis’s work has appeared in many literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Cutthroat, Cold Mountain Review, and Catamaran Literary Reader. Three of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a founding member of Richard Hugo House, the place for writers in Seattle. She lives with her husband on Vashon Island, Washington. More of her work is available at www.andrealewis.org. Read more…

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Online Feature: “Isabelle” by George Saunders

The first great act of love I ever witnessed was Split Lip bathing his handicapped daughter. We were young, ignorant of mercy, and called her Boneless or Balled-Up Gumby for the way her limbs were twisted and useless. She looked like a newborn colt, appendages folded in as she lay on the velour couch protected by guardrails. Leo and I stood outside the window on cinder blocks, watching. She was scared of the tub, so to bathe her Split Lip covered the couch with a tarp and caught the runoff in a bucket. Mrs. Split Lip was long gone, unable to bear the work Boneless required. She found another man and together they made a little blond beauty they dressed in red velvet and paraded up and down the aisle at St. Caspian’s while Split Lip held Boneless against him in the last pew, shushing her whenever the music overcame her and she started making horrible moaning noises trying to sing along.

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Online Feature: “Railway” by Mai Nardone

We’ve gathered at the railway.

Our nerve endings have faded, the gamut of our sensations become just two poles, yes or no: Can you feel that?

No. Not much anymore, said while testing a point against the pillow of thumb, of palm, against corded wrists. Glass to skin. Needle to skin. The way flesh puckers before it’s punctured. But nothing coursing beneath it: a riverbed of fissured earth.

We’re waiting on the tracks that skirt Bangkok. The rhythm on the rails is a heartbeat and it pummels through us. We lay on the ground to better catch the pounding, the low moan of a horn. We stand with backs stretched, shudder pleasantly like a man urinating. We hum train songs, skip on the crossties, stack gravel into mausoleums for diminutive kings. We are listless, parched, and waiting for the arrival, finally, of a man who comes tripping across the dawn expanse. Distant roosters rouse the moment. A nursery rhyme ripples through us:

Make way! Give way! How many birds can we feed today?

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