It happens this way too
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This week, we’re doing something a little different for Recommended Reading: we’re publishing one piece of microfiction by Alex Epstein every day from October 10–16. These pieces are extremely short and incredibly astounding (and accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by David Polonsky), so we’re simply going to say: read them.
Editor’s Note — Benjamin Samuel:
While the word counts of Alex Epstein’s “microfictions” may rarely reach triple digits, the seven stories this week, from his new collection, For My Next Illusion I Will Use Wings, occupy the space of something much larger.
In these stories, translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen, as in all his writing, Alex performs an act of distillation, capturing the very essence of fiction. His stories are so poignant they penetrate, resonate, and are certain to leave a profound impression. Alex’s writing often features figures from science, mythology, history, and literature; he writes about Kafka and language, Odysseus and the passage of time, love and technology. And it is in these seemingly familiar, outsized elements that we see ourselves reflected.
Alex’s stories are short, remarkably short. In comparison, even flash fiction feels decadent. But his writing isn’t an exercise in Oulipian restraint, or an effort to craft Twitter-friendly fiction — although Alex often tweets his stories, and once experimented with Facebook publishing — it’s what comes naturally. Alex told me it took him ten years — during which time he wrote three novels — to discover that for him “extreme brevity was the right filter.” For Alex, microfiction is “the most genuine literature format of our era, the combination of the fact that everything can change with a blink of the eye, but at the same time remain as it always was.”
— Elissa Goldstein was born and raised in Melbourne. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and is the Online Editor of Electric Literature. You can find her here.