“Bureau of Missing Persons”

In the dead writer’s last short story the characters have no names. They speak without quotation marks in a setting that looks less like a penthouse than a storeroom for books and old scrolls. Still, when they stride out to their terrace and peer over the city, they swear this is the ultimate high-rise, the true resolution to a plot involving disappearances. Like a bureau of missing persons, they gaze down at holiday shoppers, taxicabs yellow as sunset, and swear they’ll find dog walkers dreaming up haikus, day-trader night readers of eBooks—all stalking the sidewalks. Each evening the atmosphere deepens. The short story loses its way.