How the Water Feels to the Fishes

The air is like being wanted, we say, and they nod approvingly.  The air is like getting older, they say, and they touch our arms gently.

This is an excerpt from Dave Eggers’ short story collection How the Water Feels to the Fishes, which can be found in One Hundred and Fourty-Five Stories in a Small Box, along with Sarah Manguso’s Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape and Minor Robberies by Deb Olin Unferth (which I have yet to start reading).  Words I would use to describe what I have read so far from both Eggers and Manguso are: excellent, exquisite, evocative, strange, familiar, delicious, moving.  And more words that I can’t think of right now.  I just thought you aught to know.

A note from Dave Eggers included with the collection:

The New Rules

I don’t know why it came down to me to tell you about this, but anyway, here goes: if you don’t buy at least ten books a year, you’ll be struck by lightning, or maybe a bus.  Its the new rule.  Yeah.  You’ll probably be sent a more official notice in the mail soon, but for now, you’re hearing it from me.  Ten books a year, or the bus or lightning, each of them very painful and likely deadly.  Is the rule a bit harsh?  Well, maybe.  Some people might think so, but then again, those people won’t be with us very long, because anyone who complains about the rule will be disembowelled by bears.  Again, not my idea—I’m just the messenger here!—but that’s the way it is.  I don’t know why you’re worried, though.  Just buy the ten books a year, and don’t whine about it, and you won’t be struck by anything or have your insides ripped out by a grizzly.  Doesn’t seem so complicated, really.  Also, make sure you buy the right kinds of books, or else someone in a cardigan will push you off a building.  Again, nothing to worry about: just buy the best kinds of books, not the bad ones, or else you’ll be looking over your shoulder pretty much forever.  And you can’t read that way, anyway, so it all works out.


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