Author Archives: G.P. Gottlieb

Barnehama, Elan: Escape Route

“Revolution is in the air,” Ali said, “and it smells good.”
She was leaning against my bedroom door the night before my Bar Mitzvah. I was in my room practicing my part of the service. It was Ali’s first visit back home since she left for Columbia. She didn’t even return for the High Holidays. My parents hadn’t mentioned that she was coming. Likely she didn’t tell them. Just showed up. I was glad she remembered.

Faladé, David Wright: Black Cloud Rising

“It was late November 1863, the Wednesday before the feast day recently proclaimed by President Lincoln for giving thanks for the blessings of fruitful fields and healthy skies. We were aboard the Union steamer Express, pushing down the North Landing River, headed for a farm in the neighborhood of the Princess Anne Courthouse. I figured our paddle-wheel’s daybreak passage to be about as welcomed by the Virginians living along the shore as the oaths of loyalty that each of them had lately signed his name to. Such was the price of occupation.”

Slor, Zhanna – At the End of the World, Turn Left

“The second I land in Milwaukee, I’m a different person. My whole body tenses, from my leather-booted feet to my long brown hair, crimped into stifled curls during the fourteen-hour flight from Israel. If my dad notices any of the this, he doesn’t mention it. He’s smoking again, staring out the window. I haven’t seen him with a cigarette in years, and for a second I can’t help but wonder if I got in the right car.”

McDade, Peter: Songs by Honeybird

“Nina stands in the middle of her studio apartment, surveying the wreckage. The amount of trash is impressive: a multi-colored assortment of take-out containers, crumpled Grubhub bags, randomly tossed clothes, wine bottles, and Yoohoo cans. Did she really buy a six-pack of Yoohoo? It’s a snapshot from the life of someone who hit a rough patch two months ago, not two weeks. The morning light streaming in from the sliding glass doors behind her creates ominous, uneven shadows, as if promising that the worst is yet to come. At least this stage of her grief is a secreet shared only with Sid, sound asleep on the bed she swore she would train him to stay off. She knows he won’t tell anyone.”

Marshall, Fiona Vigo: The House of Marvelous Books

“To my friends in publishing IT IS SAID that those who go against the way end up being called unlucky. And as luck would have it, I, Mortimer Blakely-Smith, have been charged to tell the tale of our last ill-fated voyage. Now, I have reached the land of detachment, from which there is no return. There remains only this record. A logbook if you like from a sinking ship, though for centuries we never touched shore.”

Summie, Caitlin Hamilton: Geographies of the Heart

“My grandmother wanted me to have the China, which had gone to the oldest grandchild for five generations. She told me over the phone early last May, slipping the news into a discussion about how to clean my moldy shower curtain. She referred to is as my shower curtain because she refused when discussing anything remotely intimate to acknowledge that Al might use the item, too. Thrilled as she was that we were back together, she wasn’t thrilled about the living arrangements.”

Freedman, Ariela LEA

“Lea leaves her house at dawn and the air still feels like winter. It is the time of year when Montreal is entirely unpredictable, frigid one day and sweaty the next. She thinks she sees grey flakes of snow as she wraps her thin coat around herself and hugs her arms to her chest. For weeks she has prayed for good weather. The streets are nearly empty but for a few milk carts, delivery trucks, boys on bicycles throwing newspapers against the closed doors of the sleeping city. Tomorrow, they will own the front page of every one of those papers.”

Daniels, R. Cathey, Live Caught

“A man’s legs appear not three feet from Lenny’s face. Slick, flat fish hang vertically one afte the other against one leg, their green bronze scales painted in downward streaks of blood from mouths gaffed by a rusted stringer. The man’s knees and elbows fold downward and slowly collapse into a skinny squat beside where Lenny is wedged under the dock. The chained fish splat into the mud. Jingle Jingle.
“Son?” Grizzled face.The man reaches toward him, slowly, then snatches his hands away. Claps them three times. Goes still. Lenny realizes the man thinks he’s wide-eyed dead.”