Sunday Reading: Strange Tales | The New Yorker

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Sometimes a writer of what is often mistakenly called the “fiction genre” completely transcends that genre. John le Carré wrote spy novels, and yet his George Smiley series and “A perfect spy“, to name a few, were among the most fully realized and enjoyable novels of their time. The same is true of Stephen King and the horror and supernatural genres.

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The days before Halloween are a good time to revisit the Scary Realm, and this week we bring you a collection of weird seasonal stories. We begin with King’s “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French,” in which a woman experiences a thrill of déjà vu while visiting Florida with her husband. In “The Bog Girl”, Karen Russell portrays a young Irish boy who discovers the remains of a girl who died two thousand years ago. In “All Aunt Hagar’s Children”, Edward P. Jones tells the story of a man haunted by his past as he tries to solve a lingering murder mystery. “A Shinagawa Monkey,” one of Haruki Murakami’s greatest works of short fiction, describes a young woman who receives alarming information about her life from an unlikely source. And, finally, a story you may have first encountered in a ragged school anthology: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, a story as haunting and relevant today as it was. when it was first published, in the pages of The New Yorker, in 1948.

David remnick


This feeling, you can only tell what it is in French

“There were ordinary miracles; there were also ordinary ghosts. You discovered these things as you got older.

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People in a field.

The lottery

“People had done it so many times that they only half-listened to the instructions; most of them were silent, wet their lips, did not look around.

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A photo of the parents and the child

All of Aunt Hagar’s children

“As soon as I walked through the dream door, the dead white woman was waiting for me.”

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A close up of the face of a macaque

A Shinagawa monkey

A life without a name, she thought, was like a dream you never wake up from. “

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An illustration of a muddy bog

The swamp girl

“She had been killed, and now her smile seemed even more impressive, and he only wanted to protect her from future damage.”

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