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Redux: Fireworks out of Nowhere


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Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

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Harry Mathews in Key West, Florida, 2006.

This week at The Paris Review, we’re celebrating the Fourth of July. Read on for Harry Mathews’s Art of Fiction interview, Rachel Kushner’s “Blanks,” and Rita Dove’s “Wingfoot Lake.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to The Paris Review? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door. Or, choose our new summer bundle and purchase a year’s worth of The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books for $99 ($50 off the regular price!).

 

Harry Mathews, The Art of Fiction No. 191
Issue no. 180 (Spring 2007)

The ends of my books are also designed in a way that subverts any illusion that what you have become involved in is anything but the book itself … At the end of Tlooth there’s a description of fireworks out of nowhere. This is the conclusion of the book, except apparently nothing is concluded. “The labyrinth of their colors sets a dense clarity against the blankness of the night.”

 

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Blanks
By Rachel Kushner
Issue no. 203 (Winter 2012)

It was the morning of the Fourth of July and kids were lighting smoke bombs, sulfurous coils of red and green, the colors dense and bright like concentrated dye blooming through water.

 

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Wingfoot Lake
By Rita Dove
Issue no. 96 (Summer 1985)

Independence Day, 1964

On her 36th birthday, Thomas had shown her
her first swimming pool. It had been
his favorite color, exactly—just
so much of it, the swimmers’ white arms jutting
into the chevrons of high society.
She had rolled up her window
and told him to drive on, fast.

Now this act of mercy; four daughters
dragging her to their husbands’ company picnic,
white families on one side and them
on the other, unpacking the same
squeeze bottles of Heinz, the same
waxy beef patties and Salem potato chip bags.
So he was dead for the first time
on Fourth of July—ten years ago

had been harder, waiting for something to happen,
and ten years before that, the girls
like young horses eyeing the track …

 

If you enjoyed the above, don’t forget to subscribe to The Paris Review. In addition to four print issues per year, you’ll also receive complete digital access to our sixty-eight years’ worth of archives. Or, choose our new summer bundle and purchase a year’s worth of The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books for $99 ($50 off the regular price!).

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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