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This week at The Paris Review, as summer winds down, we’re thinking about endings. Read on for Toni Morrison’s Art of Fiction interview, Steven Millhauser’s short story “Flying Carpets,” and Alex Dimitrov’s poem “Impermanence.”
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Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction No. 134
Issue no. 128 (Fall 1993)
What about plot? Do you always know where you’re going? Would you write the end before you got there?
When I really know what it is about, then I can write that end scene. I wrote the end of Beloved about a quarter of the way in. I wrote the end of Jazz very early and the end of Song of Solomon very early on. What I really want is for the plot to be how it happened. It is like a detective story in a sense. You know who is dead and you want to find out who did it.
By Steven Millhauser
Issue no. 145 (Winter 1997)
In the long summers of my childhood, games flared up suddenly, burned to a brightness, and vanished forever. The summers were so long that they gradually grew longer than the whole year, they stretched out slowly beyond the edges of our lives, but at every moment of their vastness they were drawing to an end, for that’s what summers mostly did: they taunted us with endings, marched always into the long shadow thrown backward by the end of vacation.
By Alex Dimitrov
Issue no. 227 (Winter 2018)
The first ending. And knowing it would end
I wanted another. Lover, summer,
pen with which to write it all down.
The first disappointment. Which is not
remembered but lives in the body.
And how familiar it became …
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