Read Haruki Murakami’s Latest Short Story

My Cheesecake-Shaped Poverty

By Haruki Murakami

The Triangle Zone was our name for the place. I couldn’t think of any better name for it. I mean, the area was a perfect triangle, as if someone had drawn it out. And she and I lived there, on that land. This was back in 1973 or ’74.

When I say “Triangle Zone,” don’t go picturing a kind of delta. The Triangle Zone we lived in was much narrower, more like a wedge. Imagine, say, a round, full-sized cheesecake. Cut it into twelve equal pieces with a knife so it’s like the face of a clock. What you’d end up with, of course, are twelve slices of thirty degrees each at the tip. Place one of these on a plate and, as you sip your tea, take a good hard look at it. That tapered end of the thin slice of cake? That’s exactly the shape of the Triangle Zone I’m talking about.

O.K., so how did such a weirdly shaped plot of land come about? Well you might ask. Or maybe not. Either way’s fine with me, since I don’t know the answer. I asked some of the neighbors about it, but all I found out was that it had been shaped like a triangle long, long ago, was a triangle now, and would probably—far, far into the future—remain a triangle. People there didn’t seem to want to talk about this Triangle Zone, or even think about it. For them, it was like talking about a wart behind your ear. Better left undiscussed. Probably because of its weird shape. Read the full short story at the New Yorker.

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