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How could we be laughing while reading your April 2021 issue about death — the death of herb gardens, snakes, gerbils, newly planted trees, tropical fish, an orphan overseas? It was the brilliant writing of the late Donald Barthelme [“The School,” Dog-Eared Page] that had us guffawing.
Yes, the short story was about death, but the paradox made it even funnier. We’ve subscribed for twenty-five years and have long enjoyed the emotional range of the writing in your magazine, which is often about the anguish of life, and occasionally about the lighthearted moments, too. But never before have we cried tears of laughter, as we did with Barthelme’s story.