Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yiyun Li "A Small Sacrifice" ~ The Threepenny Review

Appearing in The Threepenny Review, Yiyun Li's "A Small Sacrifice" starts with a wonderful conflict: the landlord has been texting, reminding Moyan every day, that her pet pig, named Tiny, must go.

Tiny has exploded in size, no longer, well, Tiny.

A married man gave Moyan the pig. A peddler had told him it was a breed that wouldn't grow beyond the size of the basket the pig was sold in.

She needed something young and lively around her when he was not with her, he said when they knew each other better. She wondered if he meant for her to keep a puppy, or a kitty, but when he came with Tiny, he said that he was tired of being looked down upon by all the cats in the world, and he was tired of having to look up at the world like a dog. A pig, the man said, looks into your eyes like a fellow sufferer.

Amid poignant impressions and honesty, as well as parallel images echoing conflicts and story meaning, the story ends with a thoughtfulness that is a triumph of writing.


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