Zoetrope: All-Story

WINTER 2016/2017

Vol. 20 No. 4

Guest Designer Olafur Eliasson

The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies

Jo Lloyd

The companions
HM has been deceived by the dainty manners of first acquaintance, when Cassandra nibbled his fingers and blew nose kisses into his palm. Now she flattens her ears, twitches at the reins. Every hoof she sucks from the ground aims another clot of water at her rider. HM happens to know that horses, like all creatures intended to run for their lives, can observe their full compass round, so when she turns her head back, it is not to look but to make by-our-lady sure he sees her look. Raindrops have beaded on her lashes and whiskers, transforming her into some frosted basilisk of the great northern ocean, risen to . . .

A Walk-Through Human Heart

Elizabeth McCracken

Some grackles might possess souls and some grackles might possess intelligence but it is impossible that any one grackle possess both. Not enough room in their brilliantined heads. The birds were as unnerving as infants. A flock walked around the parking lot outside the vintage store like a family at a hotel wedding, looking for the right ballroom. One grackle was missing a foot, and Thea blamed him for it. If they were magpies she might count them up, wondering what they augured, but grackles were just seagulls in widow’s weeds. They were not omens of anything other than more . . .


Pedro Almodóvar

Translated from the Spanish by Carolina De Robertis

My new film, Julieta, has its literary origins in short fiction. From the moment I first read Alice Munro’s collection Runaway, I’ve wanted to adapt three of its stories (“Chance,” “Soon,” and “Silence”) for the screen. The three share a protagonist, Juliet, who navigates relationships with her partner, her parents, and her daughter, but the stories are not consecutive. They are independent, and I’ve tried to unite them, inventing my way into what was missing. . . .


Hanif Kureishi

Call me Ezra. Call me Michael or Thomas. Call me Abu, Dedan, Ahmed. Call me Er or Asha. Call me whatever. You already have more than enough names for me.
     In this place my identity and even my nature change from day to day. It is an effort for me to remember who I am. Like a child rehearsing his alphabet, when I wake up I have to reacquaint myself with my history. That is because I am not recognized. I have no reflection here. Except in her eyes.
     When she sees me I come to life.
     Wearing my only shirt, in the small shabby hotel room that we are forced to leave, I jerk about on my . . .

Origin, Story

David Bezmozgis

My connection to “Natasha” stretches back nearly two decades. I wrote the original story, adapted it into a screenplay, and subsequently directed the film. I had achieved very little as a writer before I wrote “Natasha,” and I have at times wondered what my life would be like if I hadn’t written that story. It feels odd to invest so much significance in a single work, and a short one at that, but it was this manuscript, in draft form, that caught the attention of my first book editor. As it transpired, I chart the beginning of my mature life, as a man and as an artist, with the writing . . .


David Bezmozgis

Natasha was recently nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards, for its screenplay and lead actress. The film will be released theatrically in New York City on April 28, 2017, and elsewhere later in the year.

Seeing Diane Arbus

Lindsay Zibach

As a special online supplement to the Winter 2016/2017 issue, the editors present the prizewinning story from the 2016 Zoetrope: All–Story Short Fiction Competition, as judged by Anthony Marra.

Back then, as I began to suffer more and more from bouts of inexplicable insomnia, I often found myself sitting at three or four in the morning in the corner booth of a Hell’s Kitchen dive bar just above the subway line on Eighth, hoping that I couldn’t be seen. It wasn’t that the staff let me stay past closing, it was that they weren’t used . . .

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