The Fate of Mice
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With the perceptiveness of Joyce Carol Oates, the inventiveness of Ray Bradbury, and the emotional resonance of Alice Sebold, The Fate of Mice is a meditation on the very art of storytelling: mythic, beautiful, and often brutal, filled with authentic compassion.
there. I do not know if there is cheese at the end of the maze, or an elephant, or a lion on a stone table. And I do not know how to find out. And then I have another memory. It comes to me one day as I am running the maze. In this memory I am a mouse named Algernon. I am an extremely smart mouse, a genius mouse; I am even smarter than I am now. I love this memory, and I run even faster than usual, my whiskers quivering. Someone has told a story about a mouse like me! There is a story about a
and loss and outrage. His aides were trying to corral wandering corpses. More people in the audience were retching. Rusty, holding an unwanted corpse’s hand in each of his—the three of them like small children crossing a street together—squinted his eyes almost shut, so he wouldn’t see all the distracting things around him. Stay focused, Rusty. Get to the podium. He got to the podium. Three steps up and he was on the podium, the unwanted corpses beside him. The man with the quiet voice turned
bands of freaks, groups who had ganged together for protection, but they were hunted and slaughtered, always: no safety in numbers, and even if the stories were invented to prevent such bands from forming, Quartz and Sorrel put their trust in speed and secrecy. They kept always on the move, stopping in normal towns when they had no other choice. At such times they would wrap Sorrel’s heart in a shawl and pretend that it was a nursing infant, and when townsfolk asked to see the child, or commented
could never be done because we shared a brain, but love conquers all!” I never believed any of that stuff, but what happened at the hospital would sound just like that, if I let it. So I don’t know anymore. Maybe my story’s a crock too, or maybe those trashy ones are truer than anybody ever thought. One thing I can tell you, though: if there are miracles, they don’t happen in an instant. Whatever a miracle is, it takes its own sweet time growing. When I see those newspapers now, I wonder what
of this when I was getting dressed and I walked through the hospital lobby still thinking about it, so mad I wasn’t even looking where I was going, and I practically walked straight into Mandy. “Cece!” she said, and grabbed me and started crying. She didn’t even ask me what I was doing there, which shows you how upset she was. “Cece, I finally decided the doctor was right, Cindy’s upstairs now, I brought her here two hours ago and went home to get her toothbrush because I’d forgotten it and I