Zoetrope: All-Story


Vol. 22 No. 2

Guest Designer Nick Cave

Notes on Design

Nick Cave

In the house where my wife and I live there is a small room. It is very narrow, with a single window. There is nothing in it. A couple of years ago, by chance I looked inside and saw arranged in the window a pair of little brass pissing-boys I had brought back from Brussels for my twins—one who has since died—and two large, red flowers in a green bottle.

It appeared to have no purpose as the door was always shut and the room was never used. I took a photo of it with my Polaroid app and thought no more about it. I looked again the following week, and the arrangement . . .

Black Corfu

Karen Russell

Žrnovo, 1620

The doctor sleeps naked, which is not widespread practice on the island of Korčula, not even in summer. As if to atone for his bared skin, his wife sleeps in cake-like tiers of bedclothes. Only she is privy to the doctor’s secret shamelessness; in public company, he is the model of propriety. Once upon a time, she found this and his other bedroom vagaries irresistibly appealing. Tonight he startles awake from his nightmare to find her surfacing from yards and yards of white linen. She rises like a woman clawing out of snow. . . .

There Will Never Be a Darwish Bridge Here

Colum McCann

The bougainvillea wasn’t as red as it should have been, but it flowered. The ironwork gate creaked a little, but there was birdsong in the garden. The hybrid teas were plagued with summer greenfly, but for the most part they bloomed. The olive trees in the back were slightly stunted, but the olives didn’t seem to mind. The terra-cotta roof tiles cracked in the heat, but the house never let the rain in. The children took a broom to the beehive in the vestibule outside the front door, but they never got stung. The brass-plated numbers on the door were hung a little haphazardly . . .


Helen DeWitt


An interview is not like an interrogation. It is possible to undergo interrogation in such a way as to provide answers which will put an end to the interrogation. But it is not enough to provide an answer in a single interview, the answer must be provided many many times, as many times as there are interviews to be undergone. The body is put on a plane and taken here and there so that words may come out of the mouth. . . .

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