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Let yourself be excited and delighted by the artfully spare stories in M.A.C. Farrant’s new collection, The Days. Averaging a couple of paragraphs each, they offer enough food for thought (and mood) to keep you going for months. Dip in occasionally to be reminded of the strangeness of us, or read from beginning to end and immerse yourself in a slightly skewed version of reality – one in which people are frank and the world is unforgiving as it shimmers like light on water, sometimes blinding, always dazzling.
Today on Meta-Talon, we commemorate the anniversary of Gertrude Stein’s passing with a short story from The Days, our first book of Fall 2016. (It’s available early! Order your copy today for $14.95.)
When you reach the two-hundred-and-eighth day of the year it will be July 27. On this day, in 1890, painter Vincent Van Gogh shot himself in the chest. He did this in one of the French wheat fields he frequently painted. He was thirty-seven years old and died two days later. His last words were, “The sadness will last forever.”
Also on this day, in 1946, writer Gertrude Stein died in France while being operated on for stomach cancer. She was seventy-two. A year later, the American novelist Katherine Anne Porter writing in Harper’s magazine will call Stein’s work the “long drone and mutter and stammer of her lifetime monologue,” and refer to her “tepid, sluggish nature, really sluggish like something eating its way through a leaf.”
For the rest of us still living, even the sluggish ones, July 27 will be like all the other days, which is to say, a combination of breath and panic and glory. There is not much we can do about any of this.