Category Archives: New Books Network Podcasts

The Gone Dead, Chanelle Benz

“It is not exactly as she was picturing, the house where her father once lived. But she remembers it or feels like she does. She puts the car back in gear and turns off the main road, bumping down the gravel drive toward it. Billie parks and Rufus pops up in the back, his head veering between the driver and passenger seats, nosing her arm. Her hands stretch across the top of the wheel, palms thick and tingling from the long drive. She gets out and opens the back door. The dog bounds to the front porch, sniffs, and pees on the corner of the battered wooden steps. “Thanks,” she says as he gallops across the overgrown yard.”

Lost in Oaxaca, Jessica Winters Mireles

“This is definitely not the Mexico she’s seen splashed across the glossy pages of her mother’s travel magazines. Here, there are no turquoise bays or white sand beaches, no five-star hotels with infinity pools that disappear in the ocean. There is only the monsoonal rain, the buzz of mosquitoes, and the accordion music playing from the tinny speakers at the front of the bus. And this humidity!”

So Are You to my Thoughts, Connie Kronlokken

“Above them, the manzanita and eucalyptus bent in the evening convection wind. Being outdoors was a celebration of the uneven, thought Marty. The rich variations of color and textures of multiple layers of dry leaves and stones. A yellow leaf drifted down into her pile of beans. Seagulls wheeled and called nearby. A piece of wood leapt musically off the chopping block.”

Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella & Stories, Maggie Kast

“Hot, blue sky wheeled around, and the crashing sound of metal on stone faded into silence. Where was he—and who? He seemed to be lying on his side. Drops of moisture crawled across his forehead, and the sun beat hard on his shoulder and back. He raised his head to see if it would hurt. “Are you on top of me?” A voice from below him, then running footsteps and excited, shouting voices with Caribbean accents. The world rocked back and forth, then heaved around, and his two hundred pounds fell back behind that goddamned steering wheel on the wrong side of the car.”

Creatures, Crissy Van Meter

“There is a dead whale. It rolls idly in the warm shadows of this island, among cartoonish sea animals with tentacles, suction cups, and goopy eyes. There are squawking birds leaking nearly colorless shit, and we are concerned with an unbearable odor and the must-be sharks circling nearby. This whale is lodged in the half-moon of the bay, and she can’t seem to drift past the reef, even with the water pushing out. Close enough that we can see her. We can smell her. We can breathe her. “

Tea by the Sea, Donna Hemans

“He was on foot this time, with the baby in the crook of one arm and an oversized bag that he pulled with the other hand. Having mistaken one house on a hill for the one he sought, he was lost and the driver who had taken him there had already left. On that stretch of road, without the towering trees the sun’s heat was like a glove on his body, too close and too heavy, and the sweat dribbling along his spine and in every crevice more of an annoyance than a cooling mechanism.”

The Rocky Orchard, Barbara Monier

“I am barefoot. My absolute favorite thing. I reach down with one toe, just my big toe, to give us the barest little push to keep the swing going. I feel tiny grains of dirt on the porch floor as my toe kisses against them. The extra length of the swing’s chain clanks against the chain that supports the swing, hanging taut from the porch ceiling. How long has this swing been here?”

Everywhere You Don’t Belong, Gabriel Bump, Algonquin Books 2020

“If there’s one thing wrong with people,” Paul always said, “It’s that no one remembers the shit that they should, and everyone remembers the shit that doesn’t matter for shit.” I remember Euclid Avenue. I remember yelling outside our window, coming in from the street. Grandma putting down her coffee. I remember Grandma holding my ankle, swinging my two-year-od self out the front door, flipping me right-side up, plopping me down next to the Hawaiian violets, plopping herself down next to me. I remember awe and disbelief.”