Nothing Sounds More Insincere Than a Parrot Speaking French

Every Friday Vulture finds a great story that's a little too long to read on the computer screen. Fiction, long-form narrative journalism, epic blog sagas — any of these could be your Weekend Read. Print it out on the office printer, smuggle it home, and curl up with it after brunch.

We've loved Elizabeth McCracken ever since her first novel, The Giant's House, surprised us back in 1996 with its original take on the well-worn genre of Librarian Falls in Love With Giant. Since 2001's Niagara Falls All Over Again, we've waited patiently for another book from the inventive writer. Luckily, McCracken's also an excellent short-story writer, and her story "The House of the Two Three-Legged Dogs," which appeared in the spring 2007 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story, is a hilarious and sad tale of an English couple stuck with their innumerable animals in a monstrous old house in rural France. Trapped amid three-legged dogs, four-legged dogs, and 50 budgies, Tony and Izzy try to come to terms with their betrayal at the hands of Tony's alcoholic son. With memorable one-liners and rich characterization — and a tragically absurd ending — "The House of the Two Three-Legged Dogs" is this week's Weekend Read.

The House of the Two Three-Legged Dogs [Zoetrope: All-Story]