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April 07, 2008

One-Hit Wonder

Mcswe So it's coming up on four years since my story "Pigs In Space" was published in McSweeney's and it remains my only major publication.

Like a proper one-hit wonder, though, that same story is getting a new lease on life. Claire's greatest hit.

A month or two ago I recorded it on some portable equipment and now McSweeney's has released the first in what is supposed to be a series of audiobooks collecting pieces from various issues read by the authors.

The original idea was that we were to find some public place to record in that would put the recording in danger of being interrupted, or at times overridden by local noise. But that didn't work out for me, equipment-wise or in terms of ideas. (A friend of mine suggested an airport, but that had some obvious homeland security issues, and the nearest pig farm I could find on google is halfway to Sacramento.) So I just recorded it at home, interrupted only by my own amateurishness.

It's out now, and available on emusic. You can find it here. It's called McSweeney's Field Recordings: Close Calls and Dangerous Propositions.

I haven't heard it yet, but apparently, my "narration imbues [my] piece with an undeniably creepy tone." Hm.


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My husband recently bought me your collection of short stories, and I've been slowly reading it, savoring each one as I can make the time to do so. (We've got a one-year-old. I don't read as much as I used to.)

The whole thing is excellent (so far -- I'm about 2/3 of the way through) but "Pigs in Space" has lodged itself in my brain and will not let me go. There's something about it that fascinates and chills me. Beautiful, weird, disturbing. I love the way you let the broader realities of that story's world filter in around the edges, without explaining them. I love the irony of the Muslim pig-breeder. And I should have seen the ending coming, but I didn't, and I get chills every time I think about it.

Anyway, brava.

Thanks so much, Rachel! It really means a lot to me to get these telegrams from the outside world, letting me know that someone's reading! I hope you enjoy the rest of the book, too.

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