Stephen O'Connor

We Want So Much to Be Ourselves

Fiction from NER 33.3.

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Roland’s longing trailed after him as he walked, a sort of dirigible, attached by a silver filament that tugged and tugged without ever lightening his step.

“Why’s that thing always following you around?” his brother asked. “Haven’t you already got everything you could possibly want?”

Roland didn’t bother to argue, not because his brother was right (wasn’t it simple fact that human desire was endlessly replenishable?), but because his brother was a very small man with the jaw of someone twice his size. He walked with his jaw foremost, his shoulders hunched and his elbows back, as if he were being bent nearly to the ground by the burden of all the things he couldn’t have. If anyone were to be followed around by a dirigible of longing, it ought to have been Roland’s brother, but the air above his hunched shoulders was a void. And this seemed sad to Roland, although many things struck him as sad.

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Stephen O’Connor is the author of four books, most recently Here Comes Another Lesson (Free Press, 2010), a collection of short fiction. He teaches in the Columbia and Sarah Lawrence M.F.A. programs. 

Announcing the new print issue: NER Vol. 33, #3

The new issue of New England Review is on its way from the printer, and a sample of the contents is available here on our website, both in WordPress and PDF formats. The full issue can be ordered online right here for only $10, including shipping.

In these pages, you’ll find new fiction by Norah Charles, David Guterson, Ihab Hassan, Stephen O’Connor, Leath Tonino, and Adrienne Sharp, appearing alongside new poems by Howard Altmann, Geri Doran, Robin Ekiss, Brendan Grady, Jennifer Grotz, Margaree Little, John Poch, Mark Rudman, and Jake Adam York.

In nonfiction, Sara Maitland uncovers the roots of our fairy tales in the forests of Europe; Anne Raeff reflects on the languages in which she writes her life; Craig Reinbold reports on his days in a classroom in a west side Chicago public school; and Myles Weber probes the life and reputation of Raymond Carver. Plus Isabel Fargo Cole‘s translation of fiction by midcentury German author Franz Fühmann and a brief philosophical investigation by George Santayana. This issue’s cover features artwork by the painter Caryn Friedlander. ORDER A COPY