from my bookshelf: the dark dark by samantha hunt


the dark dark is a collection of short stories. one of the stories is included in the book twice, changing slightly the second time. the characters experience both the real and unreal: one chapter might focus on the pain of not being able to conceive a child, while the next may describe a woman turning into a deer. samantha hunt uses words as a tool to sculpt a masterpiece of stories, which need to be read slowly and carefully to be truly appreciated for their complexity and depth.


“In the toilet a streamer of blood sinks to the bottom of the bowl, a dark, dead fish.”

“Norma hangs up and her heart snags. The sign seems less certain now. The bird is gone, and Norma wishes she’d done things differently. Take a bit of good news and Norma will always spread it out thin over the telephone lines, until all she has left is a small smudge, a quickly fading memory of the color yellow and the white-speckled feathers.”

“I hear the ping and rattle of her hull getting charged. Dockman fills her. Pipes and pumps. She gurgles with gasoline. I try not to think of the girl I can’t stop thinking of.”

“Things might be creeping, rotting, plotting revenge out there and I wouldn’t even know because I can’t see the living room, and beyond that I can’t see the small kitchen with two windows that look out onto a screen porch that looks out even farther onto the road and the mailboxes. I can’t see any of that right now.”

“Yellow was everywhere. Yellow and calm. Fear and confusion had left. Possibility and sunshine became his friends. In the yellow, he felt himself the newborn child of Patti Smith and Jacques Cousteau. Roy rolled a cigarette and visualized foreign,  gentler lands: India, Morocco, Florida.”

“Ted considers her comment. He’s never seen it that way because he’s never really had someone to tell stories to, but now that she mentioned it he thinks that his work building bombs, rigging wires in a pattern, constructing paths as tangled and perfect as the trail left by a worm in wood–it all makes a narrative. The red wires lead to the blue wires lead to the trigger, which leads to the black powder. His bombs are masterpieces of storytelling. Sadly, no one ever gets to actually read these stories–that is, except, perhaps, for the scientist who might catch one glimpse before the story blows a hole right through his brain. Worm-eaten.”

“The only desire/constructed identity I have that compares to the way men talk about sex is my devotion to rehashing the past. I relive the exquisite pain of things that no longer exist: my father’s jean jacket, my father, Travolta’s 1977 dark beauty, how it felt to be alone in the house with my mom after my siblings finally left for school, the rotations of my first record player spinning the Osmonds and Paper Lace, the particular odors of a mildewed tent in summertime. Memory as erogenous zone.”

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