Zoetrope: All-Story

Winter 2021/2022

Vol. 25 No. 4

Guest Designer Sylvia Plachy

Notes on Design

Sylvia Plachy

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

Edgar Allan Poe

So many photographs, so much to finish. 

Then I got an email from Zoetrope: would I like to be their next guest designer? Suddenly, I had a project and a deadline, like the old days—just what I needed.

A book of photographs is like a . . .

The Hollow

’Pemi Aguda

The house is ugly, Arit decides when the taxi drops her off in front of her new assignment: too many roofs clambering over each other like crowded teeth, and flaking walls the pink of a tongue. She shrugs her tote bag higher and knocks on a gate so black she checks her knuckles for soot. A young boy, maybe fifteen or sixteen, opens to the sound.

She is from the architecture firm, she explains, here to measure for the renovations, and is Madam Oni available?

He waves her in. Madam Oni isn’t home, but Arit . . .

The Others Spoke

Jim Shepard

A woman inquired with an edge of teasing in her voice what my first name actually was: Was it Adolf, or Otto? Or Karl Adolf? As news of our sessions spread within the community, more and more interested parties began attending, and Sassen’s living room was filled, with the curious standing along the walls behind those seated. It was one of those living rooms crowded with Dutch comforts and lined to the ceiling with books, records, and prints, culture being enough of a familial preoccupation that he told me they played “Guess the Composer” at the dinner . . .

Epitaph for an Unknown First Responder

Ariel Dorfman

Nobody ever thanks us, no statue is ever raised in our honor, there is no mourning ceremony held as, one by one by one, we disappear.

And yet, where would you be without us? If I had not been born, lined up with millions of my brothers and sisters and ready for service, what sicknesses would not ravage our beneficiaries right now, right now and in the future?

These are not thoughts that I am supposed to have. Quite the contrary: This is your lot, I was told, as soon as my turn came. Out there, in the world, you . . .

Drive My Car

Haruki Murakami

Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film adaptation of the story “Drive My Car” premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d’Or and won three prizes, including the Prix du Scénario for best screenplay. Drive My Car is Japan’s entry in the International Feature Film category at the 2022 Academy Awards.


Jack Gain

As a special online supplement to the Winter 2021/2022 issue, the editors present the prizewinning story from the 2021 Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Competition, as judged by Daniel Mason.

When the heat of the day has established itself, so that the dust on the air has settled a little . . . When the rays of light lift, like warp yarn or the strings of a piano, from the slats of the shutters onto the opposite wall . . . When the muffled cries of trading have died in the street below . . . And when the . . .

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