The Winter Issue, Now Available

by ZYZZYVA

Order your copy of Issue 124 today!* Fiction Presenting Matthew McIntosh’s novella-as-screenplay, “The Christmas Party.” Evoking a bygone era of Hollywood, this cinematic holiday story follows a set of misfits and dreamers on a romantic quest from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Featuring “Cannon,” debut fiction by Allan Martín Nava Sosa. Brittany Bronson’s “The Behavior Chart”: a kindergarten teacher and her severely ill student try to make their way back into each others’ good graces. Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry’s “The Kyiv Symphony”: “Aeroflot planes have stopped flying overseas, and he suspects that before long the borders will be closed, the Iron Curtain […]

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‘The Night Shift’ by Natalka Burian: Vibrant Vulnerability

by Megan Luebberman

In author Natalka Burian’s new novel, the exciting and thought-provoking The Night Shift (325 pages; Park Row Books), otherworldly openings called “Shortcuts” allow individuals to teleport through time and space from one location to another. Only certain characters are in-the-know, while others, like Jean Smith, have no idea that it’s possible at all. Jean, a woman struggling just to pay her rent in New York City, has to pick up jobs at a bar and at a bakery.  She soon feels there aren’t enough hours in the day until a newfound acquaintances introduces her to New York’s Shortcuts. Jean is […]

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Wedding Favors

by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Liana turned the radio up and signed into the Lyft app. Some  drivers kept the music flat, classical or Top 40, out of respect  for the passengers’ preferences, but this was her car, goddamnit,  and she played whatever she woke up feeling: Big KRIT got her out the  bed most Mondays, Ms. Aretha Franklin three weeks straight after her last birthday, and now, she was on that Dwayne Carter: You had a lot of crooks  Trying to steal your heart  Never really had luck  Couldn’t never figure out how to love  She felt that shit.  Liana wasn’t stupid. She wasn’t surprised […]

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Obverse

by Yuri Herrera

And that was why they decided to go off and explore the other side, on which, they hoped, there would be no watery cliffs or dragons awaiting them at the end. They traversed iotas and iotas. Deserts of iotas and dales of iotas and mountains of iotas. Millions of iotas. Until, finally, once again, they

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Flat Map

by Yuri Herrera

Perhaps they could have saved the lives of all those who died chasing the truth to the ends of the earth if they’d thought more about, say, the thickness of trees. But these people, like all people, felt compelled to see things with their own eyes, which would later be eaten by the fish. And

Subscribers only: to access this content, you must be a member of ZYZZYVA Studio. Membership is included with any subscription. Subscribe today, or if you are already a subscriber, log in to continue reading. (Read our FAQ for more details, and contact us if you have any trouble logging in.)

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Q&A with Karin Lin-Greenberg: ‘Vanished’ and the Art of Life

by Christine Sneed

One of qualities I admire most about Karin Lin-Greenberg’s stories is their comic undercurrent, the subversive eye paired with an unflinching one that registers the world and its inhabitants with clarity and powerfully affecting insights into the complex, sometimes ruthless emotional negotiations of adolescence and adulthood. Her writing is at once lucid and engrossing, the kind of fiction that unfurls so seamlessly the final page arrives long before I’m ready to part ways with her characters. Her first story collection, Faulty Predictions (2014), won the Flannery O’Connor Prize, and her first novel, You Are Here, will be published in May […]

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‘It Must Be a Misunderstanding’ by Coral Bracho: Adding Color and Depth to One of Life’s Hardships

by Meryl Natchez

Anyone who has experienced a loved one’s trajectory through Alzheimer’s might wonder how a book of poetry focused on that harrowing experience could be uplifting. But Coral Bracho’s It Must Be a Misunderstanding (New Directions; 135 pages), translated by Forrest Gander, is not only tender and compassionate, but leaves the reader suffused in the mystery of being. The book is dedicated to Bracho’s mother, who died in 2012 from complications of Alzheimer’s. A short book of fragmentary lyrics, it builds through its sections like a concerto, adding color and depth as it goes. The themes of Intuitions, Observations, and various […]

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Rebecca Rukeyser & Liska Jacobs in conversation on ‘The Pink Hotel’ and ‘The Seaplane on Final Approach’

by Rebecca Rukeyser & Liska Jacobs

I read Liska Jacob’s The Pink Hotel (336 pages; MCD) at the end of this summer. August is an unwholesome month, especially in Berlin. The city becomes a swamp, and every bakery display case is filled with wasps feeding on poppyseed cake and apple strudel. But reading the gleefully anarchic The Pink Hotel is the most unwholesome thing I did this August. I mean that as the highest compliment. This book lulls you with the low incessant murmur of opulence. You begin with healthy skepticism toward the trappings of obscene wealth, but diamond watches start to sound pretty. Daily spa […]

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Q&A with Kathleen Balma: ‘From Your Hostess at the T&A Museum’ and the Urgent Need to Describe

by Danielle Shi

Kathleen Balma demonstrates a prodigious fluency with language in her intelligent and entertaining first poetry collection, From Your Hostess at the T&A Museum (96 pages; Eyewear Publishing), in which monkeys battle for social cachet, time grounds to a startling weather-bending halt, and voices become vehicles of desire when arriving at the right destination. Cleverly imagining the ordinary into shapes exceptional and witty, Balma uses an affectionate yet sardonic tongue to interrogate images as familiar to us as Abe Lincoln’s cabin to the ruins of Pompeii to the moon landing. For aficionados of art history, visual splendor abounds: Olympia and Aphrodites […]

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ZYZZYVA Staff Recommends October 2022: What to Watch, Read, & Listen To

by ZYZZYVA Staff

Danielle Shi, Intern: Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 film Hausu at first may seem like a comedy, as we witness scene after scene of innocent Japanese schoolgirls cavorting with nigh-homoerotic glee in the rolling countryside—until the haunted house they are staying in begins to kill them off, one by one. Think grand pianos chewing up fingers, tidal waves of blood to rival The Shining, and one particularly diabolical housecat that will leave you eying your own feline companion with (most likely) undeserved suspicion. Embodied in hallucinogenic animated sequences, cheesy and over-the-top special FX, and catchy musical numbers that repeat with a maddening […]

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On the Art of Interviewing

by Michael Krasny

I learned an important lesson interviewing David Byrne. He was (and is) an artist I respect and admire, but he was a terrible interview. Monosyllabic grunts were what I got from him as well as a clear indication that he simply did not want to be there, in the studio, being interviewed. Sometimes you can fire questions at someone and you realize you are dealing with an individual who simply will not or cannot open up. I had a similar problem with the actor Billy Dee Williams, and in both cases I took the chance of going to the elephant […]

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Interoffice Memorandum 10/18

by Christine Sneed

Date:   October 18 To:      All Quest Industries Employees From: Mid Level Management  Subj:   Returning Full-Time to the Office Please be advised that as of one week from today, we will resume full-time work in our offices at 1 E. Wacker Drive, i.e. we will no longer observe a 3-days-in-office/2-days-remote schedule. Please do not grouse about this policy within our earshot. We have no intention of changing our minds! Please also be advised that air fryers and heavy metal-extracting saunas are no longer permitted on these premises. The City of Chicago’s Public Works Department recently informed us that overuse […]

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