The Washington Post‘s Sunday Magazine is its Valentine’s fiction issue, featuring stories by Stuart Dybek, Julia Alvarez, Walter Kirn, and Julie Orringer. Missing Chicago a little lately, I went straight to Dybek’s “Road to Cordoba,” a small North Side love story set in a very large Chicago blizzard; it’s a beautifully turned piece, with a quick detour into a bar that neatly evokes every red-brick-facade-Old-Style-sign-in-front-joint in the city:
The cramped, low-lit space was packed, or so it first appeared. Though only three men sat at the bar, they were so massive they seemed to fill the room. Their conversation stopped when I came in. I’d heard the rumor that players for the Chicago Bears sometimes drank there, but hadn’t believed it, probably because I’d heard it from Lise’s stepfather, Ray, who’d also told me that as a cliff-diver in Acapulco he’d once landed on a tiger shark with an impact that killed the shark. With all of Rush Street waiting to toast them, why would Bears drink at a dump like the Buena Chimes?
Dybek will discuss the story on the Post‘s Web site Monday.