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    One great short story to read today: Donald Barthelme’s “Rebecca.”

    Emily Temple

    May 12, 2023, 10:00am

    According to the powers that be (er, apparently according to Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network), May is Short Story Month. To celebrate, the Literary Hub staff will be recommending a single short story, free to read online, every (work) day of the month. Why not read along with us? Today, we recommend:

    “Rebecca” by Donald Barthelme

    You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Well, it was sort of a toss-up between “Rebecca” and “The School,” though I might well have chosen “City of Churches” or “The Balloon” too. Anyway, I love Barthelme, for (among other things) his absurdist wit and his playful, omnivorous literary style and his intrusive narrators, all of which are on display in this story, which I have written about at greater (too great?) length here. It’s also short enough that you can read it while you finish your coffee, which will probably be better for you than scrolling past the news.

    The story begins:

    Rebecca Lizard was trying to change her ugly, reptilian, thoroughly unacceptable last name.

    “Lizard,” said the judge. “Lizard, Lizard, Lizard, Lizard. There’s nothing wrong with it if you say it enough times. You can’t clutter up the court’s calendar with trivial little minor irritations. And there have been far too many people changing their names lately. Changing your name countervails the best interest of the telephone company, the electric company, and the United States government. Motion denied.”

    Read it here.

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