Issue 56

Summer Reading

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Editor's Note

The best writers not only create worlds beyond our imagination but also lead us into places we’d never dare venture alone. Over their long careers, Stephen King and Margaret Atwood have continually surprised us with their dark worlds. In his new short story “Afterlife,” King transports us into the mind of a man at the white-light moment of his death. And Atwood, master of speculative fiction and a fervent conservationist, talks about dystopian societies and vanishing species with Tin House editor-at-large Elissa Schappell. Critic Parul Sehgal explores issues of race, class, and gender politics, as well as the significance of African and African American women’s hair, in her interview with Orange Prize–winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. But discovery isn’t always about darkness, especially in the summer, when thoughts turn to sun and vacation. In this issue, poet Tom Sleigh, who has seven collections of poetry and numerous awards to his credit, continues to burn bright with two new poems; Katie Arnold-Ratliff writes about eating her way through Disneyland; and Jennifer Gilmore chronicles her attempt to make a meal with her Greek mother-in-law on the island of Naxos. We hope you’ll follow us to both our dark and our light places, and we appreciate you taking us along—to the mountains, to the beach, to the backyard hammock.

A note about the digital versions: If you read on a Kindle, use the Mobipocket edition; for all other e-readers, use the ePub edition.

Print orders ship free by media mail.

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Table of Contents


Stephen King
Liz Moore
Jodi Angel
Firm and Good
Jon Raymond
The Red Crown
Dylan Landis
Kevin Barry
Beer Trip to Llandudno


Sophie Cabot Black
Palms Facing Out and Away from the Body
As Disciple
Ellen Bass
Moth Orchids
Ode to the First Peach
Laura Eve Engel
Defined Contribution
People with Nothing to Say Say Plenty to the Dog
Rich Smith
For Sarah in Her Blue Jumpsuit
Kate Rutledge Jaffe
Danniel Schoonebeek and Allyson Paty
Torch Song: Born Again
Torch Song: O Beautiful
Camille Dungy
What I Know I Cannot Say
Tom Sleigh
The Twins
The Craze
Alex Lemon
The Trick Bag
After the World Did Not End
Carrie Fountain
The Talent
Prayer (5)
Mark Wagenaar
A Little Dreambook of Last Days

New Voice Poetry

Kimberly Bruss
My Mother Says


Margaret Atwood
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Robert Boswell
How I Met My Wife
Miciah Bay Gault
My Own Private Byron

Lost & Found

Jeannie Vanasco
On John Keene’s Annotations
Pamela Erens
On George Gissing’s New Grub Street
Susan Scarf Merrell
On William March’s The Bad Seed
Colin Fleming
On Francis Truffaut’s Hitchcock
Tripp Reade
On Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles

Readable Feast

Jennifer Gilmore
The Eggplant, the Goat, the Moussaka
Katie Arnold-Ratliff