"The story strikes first with its beauty," writes Aimee Bender in her introduction to "Cathay", the story she selected for Recommended Reading. Milhauser, she says, crafts sentences like a "graceful curious watchmaker" and reminds us "we need our metaphors to survive."
"For an ordinary mortal to witness the walk of a concubine, even accidentally and through a distant lattice-window, is for him to experience a destructive ecstasy far in excess of the intensest pleasures he has known. These unfortunate courtiers, broken by a glance, pass the remainder of their lives in a feverish torment of unsatisfied longing."
Steven Millhauser is the author of twelve works of fiction, including the story collections Dangerous Laughter and The Knife Thrower. His most recent book is We Others: New and Selected Stories.
About Recommended Reading:
Great authors inspire us. But what about the stories that inspire them? Recommended Reading, the latest project from Electric Literature, publishes one story every week, each chosen by a great author or editor. In this age of distraction, we uncover writing that's worth slowing down and spending some time with. And in doing so, we help give great writers, literary magazines, and independent presses the recognition (and readership) they deserve.
About This Week’s Guest Editor:
Aimee Bender is the author of four books, including Willful Creatures and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Her short fiction has been published in The Paris Review, Harper's, Granta, McSweeney's, Electric Literature and more, as well as heard on "This American Life" and "Selected Shorts". She teaches creative writing at USC and lives in Los Angeles.