Winter 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 2009 |

The Spill

1. Once, a farm family named Braam lived on fifty acres of land abutting the Black River in a steeply hilly, densely forested part of Herkimer County, New York, known as the Rapids. This was in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, when my mother was very young. Walter Braam was a part-time farmer whose primary income came from working as a foreman at the enormous stone quarry in Sparta, a small city twelve miles to the south. Walter's sons, Calvin and Daniel, also worked at the quarry. When Walter's first wife, Esther, died of a rapid and unspeakable (ovarian?) cancer, Walter grieved wildly for a year and then abruptly remarried, with no warning to his family. His second wife was a young woman named Lizabeta, who'd worked in a Sparta rooming house as a cleaning girl; Lizabeta was fourteen years younger than Walter, brought to the Rapids at the age of twenty-four to be a stepmother to eighteen-year-old Calvin and twenty-year-old Daniel, who still lived at home, and to "ca

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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. Her memoir The Lost Landscape was published by Ecco in September 2015. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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Fleuve Bleu

By Joyce Carol Oates

1. Once, a farm family named Braam lived on fifty acres of land abutting the Black River in a steeply hilly, densely forested part of Herkimer County, New York, known […]

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