Fiction: V-Z

From an Unfinished Novel

By James L.W. West III

In the fall of 1985, the writer William Styron fell into a deep depression. The author of celebrated novels such as The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967) and Sophie’s Choice (1979), he ceased writing that autumn and entered a period of intense brooding and near-suicidal despair. He was admitted to the neurological unit of Yale–New Haven Hospital on December 14 and stayed there for almost seven weeks. Rest and treatment allowed him to regain his equilibrium; he returned to his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, in early February, and by that summer was writing again.

The Secret Order of Joy

By Edmund White

I can’t really remember how I met Tommy. I recollect him first as a smooth cloche of shiny light brown hair sporting the slender plume of a cowlick, a head bent over a book in study hall belonging to someone I’d heard was captain of the tennis team, leader of the Crowd and Sally’s steady; then, without transition, he was my friend and he was struggling to explain to me his theory about Sartre’s Nausea as we kicked our way through autumn leaves. 

Omega I

By Dallas E. Wiebe

My mother died—I think of terminal sexual climax—on November 5, 1971, while watching goo-goo eyed King Kong finger Fay Wray in his king-sized palm, and I inherited $200,000. King Kong was rolling his watery eyes around, trying to focus on that little white fetus in his left hand, lowering his submarine-sized, black, greasy right index finger toward screaming Fay, Mom was squirming in her seat, the people behind me were yelling “Down in front” because I’m so tall and always had to sit down front with Mom, who was eating hot, buttered popcorn and drinking Diet Pepsi.