• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    One great short story to read today: Samantha Hunt’s “A Love Story.”

    Janet Manley

    May 16, 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:

    “A Love Story” by Samantha Hunt

    There might be a coyote outside, the narrator isn’t sure. She knows that she is in her house with her children, while the dark outside might contain any number of saber-toothed dangers, and possibly her husband, whom she might have kicked out for a number of real or imagined crimes. The hormones are the point, or the sexual divide by which women are turned on by memory and nostalgia and the ghosts of their fathers, while men, more simply, act like “like their penises are on fire and they will die if they can’t extinguish the flames in some damp, tight hole.”

    This is Samantha Hunt’s short story on the landscape of new motherhood, the estrangement of partners after children, and the powers mothers have of seeing new, multiplying realities in the shadows—most importantly the specter of death. No one tells you, “Hey, you made a death. You made your children’s deaths,” when you become a parent, Hunt told The New Yorker. This short story is, in a sense, her “manual” for those who come afterward—just so’s you know.

    The story begins:

    “A coyote ate a three-year-old not far from here.”


    “My uncle told me.”


    “He said, ‘Don’t leave those babies outside again,’ as if I already had.”

    “Had you?”

    “Come on.” An answer less precise than no.

    “Why’s he monitoring coyote activity up here?”



    “It’s irresistible.”


    A wild dog with a tender baby in its jaws disappearing into the redwoods forever. My uncle’s so good at imagining things, he makes them real. “Yeah. It’s just what he does, a habit.” Or a compulsion.

    “I don’t get it.”

    But I do. Every real thing started life as an idea. I’ve imagined objects and moments into existence. I’ve made humans. I tip taxi-drivers ten, twenty dollars every time they don’t rape me.

    Read it here.

  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

    %d bloggers like this: