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Sayles, John

At the Anarchists’ Convention by John Sayles

I yanked tonight’s story from The Best of American Short Stories 1980, a volume edited by the great Stanley Elkin. If you take one look at it, you’ll see that 1980, while not considered a boon year for American fiction, perhaps should be. Donald Barthelme, Mavis Gallant, William H. Gass, Elizabeth Hardwick Grace Paley, Peter Taylor, and I’m thinking…

I yanked tonight’s story from The Best of American Short Stories 1980, a volume edited by the great Stanley Elkin. If you take one look at it, you’ll see that 1980, while not considered a boon year for American fiction, perhaps should be. Donald Barthelme, Mavis Gallant, William H. Gass, Elizabeth Hardwick Grace Paley, Peter Taylor, and I’m thinking that if Elkin didn’t already have a hell of a gig as the brain behind The Magic Kingdom and The Living End, pulling this collection together seems the stuff of dreamjobs.

I left some residual background noise in tonight’s recording for the sake of achieving verisimilitude with the subject matter. Also, because it’s Bloomsday next week, which means I’ve still got work to do.

Look again at that list of names. What’s a girl got to do to help make 2011 or 2012 another 1980? Maybe a new John Sayles novel can’t hurt…

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By miette

Miette has been podcasting the best of world literature's short fiction since March 2005, when she was just a pup.

5 replies on “At the Anarchists’ Convention by John Sayles”

This is so great. Heard it read years ago, but it still rings true. I knew people like those that populate this story. And I miss them, sometimes terribly!!

This is a send-up of such a specific and mostly forgotten scene – I wonder who’s left to remember it and chuckle? Let alone the triangle shirt-waist factory fire (etc.)that engendered it – now that Maine is trying to bring back child-labor and all the secular Jews are busy protesting the existence of Israel who’s working for the workers? Not a whole lot since they mostly all want each-other dead – the divide and conquer thing’s worked pretty well there.

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