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This content was originally published by the new yorker business. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By the new yorker business
Sophie Haigney mourns the decline of the landline telephone as a device to create suspense and animate the plot in fiction; considers the use of the technology in the work of Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, and other writers; and considers how cell phones are changing the world of fictional stories.