Shared Stories: “Last Night” by James Salter

Posted on 28 December 2010

Usually, this Shared Stories section includes a link to a piece of short fiction you can read online. I’m mixing it up this time with a New Yorker podcast of James Salter’s “Last Night,” read by Thomas McGuane.

I recently posted about the challenges of reading my work aloud and editing pieces in preparation for public readings. This is a good example of a piece of fiction that comes across very powerfully when read aloud. Please do give a listen to this chilling and suspenseful story if you’ve never read it (or even if you have).

Download or listen here.

Or, if you prefer to read instead of listen, The New Yorker also posted the story online here.

First lines:

Walter Such was a translator. He liked to write with a green fountain pen that he had a habit of raising in the air slightly after each sentence, almost as if his hand were a mechanical device. He could recite lines of Blok in Russian and then give Rilke’s translation of them in German, pointing out their beauty. He was a sociable but also sometimes prickly man, who stuttered a little at first and who lived with his wife in a manner they liked. But Marit, his wife, was ill.

Photo: Mr. T in DC


1 Response to Shared Stories: “Last Night” by James Salter

  • Averil Dean says:

    What a strange and interesting story. I love the “twilit” tone McGuane talks about.

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