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Steven Millhauser:
Enchanted Night
Steven Millhauser
  Enchanted Night  
Steven Millhauser    
reading

an excerpt



  Come out, come out, wherever you are, you dreamers and drowners, you loafers and losers, you shadow-seekers and orphans of the sun. Come out, come out, you flops and fizzlers, you good-for-nothings and down-and-outers, day's outcasts, dark's little darlin's. Come on, all you who are misbegotten and woebegone, all you with black thoughts and red fever-visions, come on, you small-town Ishmaels with your sad blue eyes, you plain Janes and hard-luck guys, come, you gripers and groaners, you goners and loners, you sadsacks and shlemeils, come on, come on, you pale romantics and pie-eyed Palookas, you has-beens and never-will-bes, you sun-mocked and day-doomed denizens of the dark: come out into the night.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser returns with a dreamy novella that calls to mind A Midsummer's Night Dream, were it set in modern day Connecticut. Under a magical full moon, the restless dreamers and lovers of the town slip out of their homes, drawn towards adventure. Children are lured from their beds by a piper while their long-forgotten stuffed animals awaken in attics all across the town. A middle-aged writer leaves his mother's attic, where he toils away endlessly on his novel, for weekly late-night philosophical jousting with the mother of his childhood friend. A gang of teenaged girls roam the streets, breaking into people's homes at night to steal toothbrushes and refrigerator magnets, always leaving a note proclaiming, "WE ARE YOUR DAUGHTERS." A fourteen-year-old girl sheds her clothing to bathe nude in the bright moonlight, while two lovers rendezvous, young men look for trouble and a mannequin finally meets her long-time admirer. Millhauser suffuses the mundane landscape of safe, boring suburbia with the supernatural and the ecstatic. Enchanted Night is told in exquisite prose that leaps off the page, inviting the reader into a bewitching world where anything seems possible.

In this issue of Bold Type you'll find an excerpt from Enchanted Night and a reading by Steven Millhauser from a previous novel, Little Kingdoms.
 
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  Photo of Steven Millhauser copyright © Emma Hanson

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