Temperatures broke the 50˚F mark this past weekend, so all of us rain-soaked Chicagoans are crossing our fingers with the hope that summer might actually be on its way. If you’re a DePaul student, Chicago might be the last place you want to imagine yourself, but in the off chance that you’re looking for some summer reading, here are some brief forays, both fictional and non, into the City of the Big Shoulders. We’re sticking to short works at this point until we all regain a tolerance for full-length adventures in the Second City.
Stuart Dybek, “We Didn’t” (from I Sailed with Magellan)
Equal parts city sightseeing tour, heartbreak, and ghost story, this short story captures the quintessential Chicago experience, which must of course include all three.
David Foster Wallace, “Mister Squishy” (from Oblivion)
As distressing as it is humorous, this is vintage Wallace that’s light on the footnotes but heavy on just about every other idiosyncrasy that made him famous. The story follows the events of a weird day in the Loop when a daredevil scaling a skyscraper and a disgruntled market researcher cross paths, and a manipulative ad agency’s plan begins to go terrifyingly awry.
Nami Mun, “The Anniversary” (from Granta #114)
As they prepare for their first child, a young Uptown couple tries to recover from a painful breach of trust while they navigate the the sights and smells of the North Side buffeted by a rainstorm.
Richard Powers, “Generosity: An Enhancement” (excerpted in the New York Times)
Yeah, yeah, I know–this is actually a chapter from a novel, not a short story proper. But nobody can narrate a ride on the Red Line–nor the jangled nerves of a first-time adjunct–like Richard Powers.
OK, so I’m cheating a little bit, but you shouldn’t miss Eula Biss’ memoir set in Rogers Park if we’re on the topic of writing about Chicago.