Chad Post’s Top 10

Chad Post is the director of Open Letter Books, a press dedicated to publishing contemporary literature from around the world. His is also the managing editor of Three Percent and his articles and book reviews have appeared in a range of publications including The Believer, Publishing Perspectives, and the Wall Street Journal culture blog. “This is my best shot,” he said.

1."Continuity of Parks,” Julio Cortázar – Kind of have to make this number 1, since it was the first story I read in Spanish that totally blew my mind . . . And created a life-long passion for Cortázar.2."Incarnations of Burned Children,” David Foster Wallace – Although it’s only three pages long, this is a story that is seared (pun intended) into my mind forever. Which is a testament to DFW’s literary powers, although it also makes for some crazy nightmares.
3."Entropy,” Thomas Pynchon – I love Pynchon so much, I’d tattoo him on my arm. His stories may be so-so, but his comments about women’s hair are brilliant: “I will spare everybody a detailed discussion of all the over-writing that occurs in these stories, except to mention how distressed I am at the number of tendrils that keep showing up. I still don’t even know for sure what a tendril is.” 4."Dog Attempts to Drown Man in Saskatoon,” Douglas Glover – Just couldn’t decide which Glover story to include, but I feel like every good book list includes at least one tale of divorce and disappointment and disaster. It’s mandatory.
5."Rose for Emily,” William Faulker – A clichéd pick for sure, but Faulkner was a Master. He knew how to explain the wreckage better than anyone else. 6."Her Sense of Timing,” Stanley Elkin – This is one of those stories that’s hilarious, since it’s not happening to you. Watching a disabled man struggle to host a surreally destructive party on the same day his wife leaves him has never been so hysterical.
7.“Lend Me Your Character,” Dubravka Ugresic – Right after reading this story, I decided to publish this book. As metafictional and political as it may be—it centers around a woman writer whose unimpressive boyfriend “borrows” a character from one of her stories to have sex with the protagonist of his novel—all the various threads are braided together in a tight, irresistible way.8.“Identity,” Felipe Alfau – Another almost metafictional story, “Identity” is about a man so forgettable that the only way he’s ever going to be anything is by being immortalized in a story about a man who is so forgettable that he begs his author friend to immortalize him in a story.
9.“Phone Calls,” Roberto Bolaño – Probably true that Bolaño’s epic novels 2666 and The Savage Detectives will always be his most talked about works, but it’s a mistake to overlook his shorter fiction, especially this story about B who is in love with X “unhappily, of course.”10.“The Dinosaur,” Augusto Monterroso – So, I’ll just give you this whole story rather than try and describe it: “When [s]he awoke, the dinosaur was still there." That’s it, and that’s brilliant.


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