‘Manholes’ by Salma Ahmad

A progressively chaotic story—I’ve read it so many times, sent it to so many people. I don’t know what I can say without giving it away. Written with such confidence and such rare propulsive motion that it will leave you in splits. It is unpredictable, surprising at every turn, with an ending that leaves you stranded right upon that Gogolian overcoat that now stands in for the exemplary irresolution of the short story form. This is what the short story can do—capture by the fragment the absurdity of life that is so difficult to capture in its totality. If you know anything else the author has written, please do send to me. From time to time, I scour the internet for more.

First published in The White Review in April 2019, and available to read here

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