McSWEENEY’S ISSUE 34
Our laurels went unrested on for this one: Issue 34 features new stories of shipwrecks and kidnappings and bad vacations by (among others) Anthony Doerr, Daniel Handler, and T. C. Boyle, new letters about wine and Hawaii from John Hodgman and Sarah Vowell, twenty-one dead-on self-portraits drawn by the likes of Michael Martone, Michel Gondry, and Sarah Silverman, and, beyond all this, in a standalone volume, Nick McDonell’s stunning exploration of the latest iteration of the war in Iraq-a ground-level account from within the 1st Cavalry Division. The whole thing weighs in at just under 400 pages, and comes in its own custom-made double-sleeve. It is, without a doubt, a beaut.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Like the Locked Antlers by Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis
There are three kinds of reporters: the ones who work at a big paper and know they’re hot shit; the ones who work at a little paper and think they’re hot shit; and the ones who work at a paper where the editor-in-chief, advice columnist, and janitor are all a guy named Hung.
Afterworld by Anthony Doerr
In a tall house in a yard of thistles eleven girls wake on the floor of eleven bedrooms.
Twenty Questions by Bridget Clerkin
When I was a kid and my mother found it in herself to cook dinner, she would get the youngest of us-me and my two younger brothers-to help. “Who will help me wash the carrots?” she’d say, like the Little Red Hen. “Who will help me set the table?”
The Actor’s House by David Means
Passing the actor’s house one thought of biker films, of his former edginess, of his beautiful young face on the screen, of his slight lisp-eventually a trademark of sorts-and the way he stood, slightly to one side, and tilted his head, along with the expressiveness of his features, which weren’t perfect because there was something wrong in the symmetry of his face, and his nose had been broken and he tended to blink in a way that made you aware of the lens-but that didn’t detract from the power of his genius, and he had three Academy Awards to his name.
The Wreck of the Beverly B. by T. Coraghessan Boyle
Picture her there in the pinched little galley where you could barely stand up without cracking your head, her right hand raw and stinging still from the scald of the coffee she’d dutifully and foolishly tried to make so they could have something to keep them going.
Your Biggest Fan by Awad
You’ve just polished off a mickey of vodka, seven kamikazes, and six dirty mothers. It’s getting to be around that time of night, that hour, when you feel you ought to call your biggest fan—the fat girl.
105 Riparian Lane by Peter Orner
He is thinking of the downstairs bathroom in his father’s house, the tiny bathroom they always referred to as the Powder Room. In his father’s house, the house Popper grew up in until they fled—not at night, during the day, they ran away in the broad day.
Conversations with Girls by â€¨Sean Casey
Grogan was the first kid in town to have one. He was in the seventh grade, and an assortment of attractive hairs grew above his lip.
Letters from the Academy by Tom Barbash
Dear Mr. Wilcox, I would like to let you know how your son Lee is progressing at the Tennis Academy. I’ve chosen to communicate by letter because I believe what we’re witnessing requires more than a casual phone call or email, as I suspect you will agree.
Does This Look Familiar? by Daniel Handler
There must be a way the world changes. The shop was farther from the inn than you might think, the miles hard to count on a winding road. They’d passed two cemeteries, maybe three, a mossy wall with boots waiting on top of it. You couldn’t forget a thing like that.
I am Tafi. I was born in Buhera in 1977, at the height of the liberation struggle. My village is just past the Buhera municipal offices on your way to Murambinda. When you reach the CHIVHU 80 KM peg or the Makombe Mission signpost, that’s my area.