i gotta confess that i have a growing soft spot for white-man-postmodernism as i’m reading for my orals. my love for david foster wallace and his late 90s pomo is full-fledged, but i’m beginning to appreciate the comic stylings of donald barthelme. he’s perfected the odd, unexpectedly inventive short story, as in “The Balloon,” where a giant balloon expands to cover parts of a city, or in “The Falling Dog,” an artist’s encounter with… a falling dog:

“Yes, a dog jumped on me out of a high window. I think it was the third floor, or the fourth floor. Or the third floor. Well, it knocked me down. I had my chin on the concrete. Well, he didn’t bark before he jumped. It was a silent dog. I was stretched out on the concrete with the dog on my back. The dog was looking at me, his muzzle curled round my ear, his breath was bad, I said, “Get off.”

He did. He walked away looking back over his shoulder. “Christ,” I said. Crumbs of concrete had been driven into my chin. “For God’s sake,” I said. The dog was four or five meters down the sidewalk, standing still. Looking back at me over his shoulder […] Well, it was a standoff. I was on the concrete. He was standing there. Neither of us spoke. I wondered what he was like (the dog’s life). I was curious about the dog. Then I understood why I was curious…”


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