‘α-Crystallin’ by Sydney S Kim

It might seem rash to include a story in this anthology that was only published last week—it probably is, though Sydney S. Kim’s writing is superlative. This story brings together visceral bodily descriptions, the threat of an environment irreparably damaged by man, and the fraught dynamics of artistic creation and parental nurture, all through the image of tears transformed into abstract black and white photographs. The prose is, like the title, crystalline; moving and unsettling, it left me rubbing my own eyes in sympathy.

But more broadly, this story represents why I love the short story, and why it is so important now. Far from a midcentury relic, writers continue to push the limits of what the short story can do—there is a new, excellent story being published literally every week. And Kim’s story is not collected in a book (yet), but was published online, in a form perfect for consumption in our age of distraction, whether over lunch, on the train, or in the blue light of your phone between snatches of sleep.

Published in American Literary Review, Spring 2019. Read it online here

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