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Hilary Masters

Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Hilary Masters holds a degree from Brown University. He has published eight novels, two collections of stories, a collection of essays, and a family memoir. His awards and notations include Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, Doubleday Best Essays, the VQR Balch Award for Fiction, and the Award for Literature from the American Academy for Arts and Letters.


Harriet Munro: the Untold Story

It wasn't my idea to say a few words about Harriet Munro, but some think due to my years, I may have information about her that is not already in the public record. I met Harriet Munro at the Columbia Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, Illinois where, if you remember, a few of us turned some no account lake frontage into a celebration of our greatness as a nation.

Shoe Polish

Men looking down. Men sitting in chairs and looking down with appreciation, suspended pleasure. Some wryly study the industry at their feet; the meticulous polishing of leather as the bootblack's cloth snaps like a pennant in the wind. Something li [...]

The Italian Grammar

For Claire Only Nick Jones may have looked on Eva bare, though some of us claimed the vision during those bull sessions in the Eisenhower era. "Shameful, all that talk," Eunice says the other morning, lips pursed above her tea cup. Lately, we've s [...]


It is "a fine feeling," M.F.K. Fisher notes, "to have a long-held belief confirmed. It adds a smug glow to life in general." But what about a long-held belief that remains unconfirmed? Suspicions appear in the darkness of solitary watches, easily mag [...]

On Silver Skates

The green balloon rose through the tree. Hendrick remembered thinking some kid his age must have let the string slip through his fingers; distracted by the puppet show or the clog dancers or some other event at the park fair, so the balloon had esc [...]

A Mechanic’s Life

"How's your martini?" she asked. He nodded and brought the glass to his lips. The pale, near colorless liquid mirrored the hill across from the terrace. He drank the view. He could almost taste the spruce trees, the pond, the road down to the villa [...]