Best of the Net 2010  



As Chosen by Michael Knight

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Quality Street" from Guernica Magazine

They were drinking tea. One of the few things that Mrs. Njoku and her daughter Sochienne could still do together without acrimony was drink tea, because when Mrs. Njoku suggested they go to the new boutique on Victoria Island, or Titi’s Place for a facial, things they used to do together in Lagos before Sochienne went away to university in America, Sochienne called her a fat bourgeois, a dilettante dancing while Nigeria was failing, as though she could somehow solve the country’s problems by depriving herself of a manicure.
Josh Eure's "It’s Sci-Fi" from Raleigh Review
Leary’s high already. “I’m writing something,” he says to me. “You write?” “Not yet. Anyway, tell me what you think. Ok, so there’s this guy..."
Max Everhart's "The Man Who Wore No Pants" from Juked
Standing six feet tall and weighing one-hundred-ninety pounds, Mr. Song was large for a native Chinese, particularly one from the Sichuan Province where he helped re-educate many class enemies. But all that--the loudspeakers, labor camps, and atonal songs about loyalty--was behind him now. Now, thirty-seven years later, and seven-thousand-one-hundred-ninety miles from where he started, Mr. Song was a typical American. Twice divorced, he owned a car, a successful Mexican restaurant in midtown Atlanta, and, like his associates at the Better Business Bureau, he longed to get out of the city, to breathe cleaner air and see trees and water.
Tamar Halpern's “The House Where the Grifters Squat” from Joyland
I am sixteen and running away to the house where the grifters are squatting. A single story rectangle with a claustrophobic porch, the place is rotting. You can almost smell it from the street. Chunks of decomposed siding litter the dirt yard. A frayed rope hangs from the tree like a claw, reaching for the tire on the ground. The rest of the block has fluffy green lawns dotted with Halloween decorations and houses done in inviting colors—robin egg blues with bright white trim. The grifters’ house looks like crushed eggshell on wet asphalt. But it’s not the grifters’ fault.
Dominic Preziosi's “The Way Back” from Memorious: A Journal of New Verse and Fiction
At first he has ordinary hopes. There’s nothing to fear, there’s no reason to worry. The car has been parked there for slightly more than a day now, and nothing has occurred--there’s nothing “unusual,” nothing 'amiss.' Except that it’s there, still, as he follows his boys to school.