The Tao of Humiliation (American Readers Series)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Best New Fiction of May 2014, Typographical Era
Alternately chilling, funny, devastating, and hopeful, these 17 stories introduce us to a theater critic who winds up in a hot tub with the actress he routinely savages in reviews; a biographer who struggles to discover why a novelist stopped writing; a student who contends with her predatory professor; and the startling scenario of the last satyr meeting his last woman.
Writer-in-residence and a professor of English at Lafayette College, Lee Upton is author of twelve books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Amy to see that Iris could not keep from thinking that she herself was a cartoon monster, her body patched and sewn sloppily, her veins shining through her skin. It was as if Iris’s body was being searched by that woman—and her body was shrinking, trying to hide from the woman’s eyes. For Iris knew it. Someone loved the woman and desired her too. How else would this woman have the strength to stand, on exhibit, and yet to pour her stare, willful, unconquered, defiant, out beyond her body? Jacob.
possible with funds from a variety of sources, including public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the Literature Program of the National Endowment for the Arts; the County of Monroe, NY; the Lannan Foundation for support of the Lannan Translations Selection Series; the Mary S. Mulligan Charitable Trust; the Rochester Area Community Foundation; the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester; the Steeple-Jack Fund; the Ames-Amzalak Memorial Trust in memory of
a bookshelf emerged from the shadows. I knew the spines, glossy in plasticized bindings. All of Kulkins’s books. It occurred to me then that right there at the door, lifting her head, her eyes brimming with emotion, must be Kulkins’s ideal reader. Neither of us spoke for a while. Then Seyla’s daughter said, “You’re not going to write the biography at all, are you? You’re just pretending that you’re going to write it.” “I’ll finish it,” I said. “No one will publish it. No one publishes anything
more to sell if she could have—if. Well, she was a mermaid herself—a beautiful swimmer.” She gasped and muttered, “What am I saying?” She pulled a figurine from the shelf and held it out to me. “Isn’t this one cute? It’s my favorite. That’s exactly what I looked like as a kid. Anita worked with photographs. Not just actual people. Old photographs too. She collected them from anyone who would hand them over. I don’t think these are like voodoo dolls at all—although I used to.” I was sure that I
almost comically nautical, like a diminutive sailor, in her cream-colored blouse with blue piping. “Is it really?” Shana asked. “I thought it’s more like an antidepressant.” “No, no, no,” Oliver said. “It starts quarrels that last a lifetime or more. Quarrels that are based on fantasy.” “It ignites grievances,” Connie said. “Things you didn’t know could bother you start bothering you.” “Especially things that shouldn’t bother you,” Oliver added. “And what is it that you’re drinking?” Shana