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Alistair Morgan's "Icebergs"

Paris ReviewAlert! While you were out, a new writer from South Africa was quietly making a name for himself.

Alistair Morgan, born in Johannesburg, resident of Cape Town – in the same block of flats as a writer of great note, in fact, but that’s for another time – has just published his first short story.

In The Paris Review.

The story was later nominated for a 2008 National Magazine Award in fiction, which – ain’t – too – shabby.

BOOK SA is pleased to bring it to you – and hopes to meet Morgan soon. Word on the street – well, in the flat of the aforementioned writer of note – is that Philip Gourevitch, who edits the Review, has taken not one, but two of Morgan’s stories.

Truly, someone is on to something here. Here’s “Icebergs” by Alistair Morgan:


Toward the end of last summer, when I was combating a bout of loneliness after the death of my wife, a new neighbor moved in next door. He arrived at number 16—I’m number 14—late one night. I had seen the color advertisement for the house in the property section of the Cape Times: panoramic views of the Atlantic; three-minute walk from the beach; twenty-minute drive from the center of Cape Town; six bedrooms en suite; swimming pool; double garage; price on application.

The for sale signs went down the same day he moved in. Although when I say “moved in,” I don’t mean that he was accompanied by a moving van and a stream of brown boxes; he came only with his driver, who, I would later discover, was also his bodyguard. If there were any suitcases I never saw them. I was sitting on my pool deck, having a final cigarette before bed, when I heard him step out onto the balcony of what I imagined was the master bedroom. Even at such a late hour he was formally dressed in a suit and tie. His face was in shadow but I could still make out the glint of his glasses. He stood with one hand in his trouser pocket and stared into the darkness for several minutes. There was no sound apart from the waves throwing themselves onto the rocks below us. We couldn’t have been more than ten or fifteen yards from one another, and the cool Atlantic breeze was carrying the smoke from my cigarette up toward him. He cleared his throat, and from out of the shadows around his head I heard a crisp, well-spoken voice say, “Good evening.”

“Evening,” I replied. “Welcome to Llandudno.”


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    May 16th, 2008 @08:34 #


  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Karina</a>
    May 16th, 2008 @13:11 #

    What a story! Thanks for digging it up :)

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    May 14th, 2009 @06:38 #

    Halala halala halala!

    Man, oh man. How thrilling is this?

    Congratulations Alistair.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Amitabh</a>
    May 14th, 2009 @16:44 #

    Enjoyed reading every word of it

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    May 14th, 2009 @17:27 #

    This story has been posted here before. It's not the kind of thing one would lightly forget - I remembered it by the end of the first sentence. It wrestled me to the ground and sucker-punched me a couple of months ago.

    Fantastic that it has been picked up by the Paris Review, but no more than it deserves. It's a great story.


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