‘The Sisterhood of Night’ by Stephen Millhauser

A community is destabilized by the apparent existence of a secret society of girls devoted to silence. This story is subtly creepy, with a quiet pulse of revolt and rage. It’s about veracity and testimony, and the writing moves between different forms of witnessing: personal, legal, journalistic reportage. I love its sinister indeterminacy, and I am a fan of anything that suggests the radical and destabilizing threat that teenage girls meeting in secret can pose to society.

First published in Harper’s Magazine, July 1994, and collected in The Knife Thrower, Phoenix House, 1999

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