$28.00 $14.00

Featuring 2019’s National Magazine Award-winning and Caine Prize-winning short stories.

“A fantastic selection of darkly magical short stories.”
—Ron Charles, the Washington Post

Packed in Issue 53’s purpose-built ziplock bag are seven stories printed on eight party balloons, which one must blow up to read. Gracing these particolored balloons are arresting new stories from Carmen Maria Machado, Percival Everett, Lauren Groff, Kima Jones, Amelia Gray, Rebecca Makkai, and Sarah Wisby. You’ll also find, alongside these inflatable stories, a vinyl-bound hardcover containing electrostatically charged new work from Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jamie Figueroa, Namwali Serpell, C Pam Zhang, and many more besides.

Perfect for decorating a birthday party, reading and then popping as a zen meditation, or repeatedly blowing up and releasing in order to observe their whimsical flight around the room, these balloons will provide endless enrichment. Inside Issue 53 you’ll uncover a medically inexplicable hunger for forks, a world of unclothed single women, a bevy of dead dads infesting a city, a mystical power within the dismembered torso of a mummified bishop, and oh so much more.

Table of Contents:

Letters from Scaachi Koul, Daniel Gumbiner, Rita Bullwinkle, Irving Ruan

Balloons from
Percival Everett — End
Sarah Wisby — Ambivalent
Lauren Groff — Tolstoy is Tolstoy
Kima Jones — Hamzah AD
Carmen Maria Machado — Relaxation Technique
Rebecca Makkai — Half-Life
Amelia Gray — FOR LARRY

Stories from
Maria Reva — Unsound
Chelsea Bieker — Keep Her Down
Julia Dixon Evans — Vinegar on the Lips of Girls
Lesley Nneka Arimah — Skinned
C Pam Zhang — Dad.Me
Namwali Serpell — What’s There
Zoe Young — Angel in the Architecture
Jamie Figueroa — This Temporary
Daniel Gumbiner — an excerpt from The Boatbuilder