One great short story to read today: Leone Ross’s “The Woman Who Lived in a Restaurant”

McKayla Coyle

May 13, 2024, 10:30am

According to the powers that be (er, apparently according to Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network), May is Short Story Month. To celebrate, for the second year in a row, the Literary Hub staff will be recommending a single short story, free* to read online, every (work) day of the month. Why not read along with us? Today, we recommend:

“The Woman Who Lived in a Restaurant,” by Leone Ross

I’ve been thinking lately about how a big trend in post-pandemic art is abundance. Abundance of food and sex and beauty and all the little things we used to take for granted. “The Woman Who Lived in a Restaurant” isn’t a post-pandemic story, but it is a story about food and sex and the little things. It’s like Tampopo if Tampopo was 15% more heartbreaking. It really encapsulates all the reasons why magical realism is the best genre. We could all use more abundance and more magical realism and, yes, maybe a little more heartbreak in our lives, and this story graciously offers us all of that.

The story begins:

One high day in February, a woman walks into a two-tier restaurant on a corner of her busy neighbourhood, sits down at the worst table—the one with the blind spot, a few feet too close to the kitchen’s swinging door—and stays there.

She stays there forever.

Read it here.

*If you hit a paywall, we recommend trying with a different/private/incognito browser (but listen, you didn’t hear it from us).

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