“Call Me Ishmael”
by Shirley Jackson

by Bryan Washington

“A King Alone”
by Rachel Kushner

“Peking duck”
by Ling Ma

from the July 11 & 18, 2022 issue of The New Yorker

For years and years the fiction issue of The New Yorker came out in early June, but this is the second year it’s arriving in July. I’m not sure which I prefer, but I’m excited it’s here! This time we get an early story from Shirley Jackson and new stories from Bryan Washington, Rachel Kushner, and Ling Ma.

Enjoy! And please come back and leave your thoughts below! Which was your favorite?

Here are the pieces:

“Call Me Ishmael,” Shirley Jackson

“Yes,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

It was quite stupid of people, she thought, to make everything, even conversation, so interrelated and dependent that she could not say merely that it was incredible but must be referring to something preceding or obvious; nothing exists, she thought, unless it depends upon something previous; people are incapable of realizing anything that does not bear upon that interrelation. In this case, it was the number of warm days that was incredible (warm days being a factor in anyone’s understanding), instead of anything more important, and there seem to be so few important things, she thought desperately, besides the weather.

“Arrivals,” by Bryan Washington

You’ve caught the morning’s first flight and your car is late, but Aiden told you it’d be there and five minutes later it is. He’s filming in Georgia, because apparently everyone’s filming in Georgia, which means he’s sleeping on set, which means you won’t catch him during daylight hours—but he still puts you up in a hotel on Piedmont for the weekend.

“A King Alone,” by Rachel Kushner

He was on a low road next to the French Broad, which divided the town in half. He thought about how with small cities, like this one, that were split in two by a river, you added the word “West” or the word “East” to the half that was less desirable, the half that was not the commercial center.

“Peking Duck,” by Ling Ma

In my first years in the U.S., my parents take me to the library to encourage my learning of English. With my mother’s guidance, I check out ten, fifteen books every weekend. Though I gravitate toward picture books, my mother pushes me to start reading more advanced chapter books. “Just the words themselves should be enough,” she says. “If you can’t think up the image on your own, then that’s a failure of imagination.”

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