— Joy Williams (via mttbll)
by Jenn Mar
Ryan MacDonald’s stories are unapologetically mysterious even though they live in the field of the banal—of Hamburger Helper dinners, late-night donut drives, Tonka trucks; of a menacing weather reports and an equally menacing Richard Gere. His brief stories, often single-block paragraphs, are undoubtedly sinister and tenderhearted at once. In “The Observable Characteristics of Organisms,” winner of the American Short(er) Fiction Prize and the title piece of his forthcoming story collection, Ryan wrings out something latent from a story whose familiarity makes it appear harmless—a man and his daughter take a trip to the zoo—though it’s not.