Small Press Spotlight

 

Grand Central

by Peter LaSalle

 

First published in the Antioch Review

 

Admittedly, it was a strange time to be in Grand Central, mid-morn­ing like that and in August. And Jameson would later tell himself that running into De­Barsy—after what was it, over forty years back at Harvard?—and then DeBarsy talking about what happened on the rugby team’s so-called spring tour to Jamaica—in what was it, 1967, no, 1968?—fit right in with the entire mood of the station, strange as the encounter with De­Barsy had been. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Baby Teeth

by Teri Vlassopoulos

 

First published in Joyland

 

When I emerged from the forest I was six years old, all tangled hair and scabby legs. Skinny. Everything had been so blurry, a wash of murky colours and shadowy landscapes that when I saw the sun, my eyes teared up. The old woman that found me was small, papery and greying, but she bent down and picked me up and carried me into her house. READ MORE




 


 

Three Indignities

by Brian Evenson

 

First published in Unsaid 

 

During the surgery they peeled the ear off his head, severing the nerves so they could get at the tumor that had spread its fingers across his jaw and up one side of his neck. And then the ear was forced back down, sewn into place. The nerve had to be sacrificed, the doctor told him when, disoriented and nauseous, he awoke. What was there, if anything, to do about it now? READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Business of Anguish

by Josip Novakovich

 

First published in Matrix Magazine

 

Some cities are cities of light, such as Athens and Algiers and Las Vegas, with white walls and glaring sunshine, and some cities are vast darkness, such as London and Berlin, but Saint Petersburg was a city of neither light nor dark, but shadows, and yet not high resolution shadows, such as are cast in the cities of light and also in the cities of darkness: these were dusty, pastel, irresolute and vague shadows, and for that reason all the more threatening since you can’t quite hide in them, as a slow prey, but you can, as a stealthily moving predator. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Visitations

by Tina May Hall

 

First published in The Collagist

 

There was a squirrel trapped in the wall behind my stove in October. We could hear it clawing back there, but what to do? “Maybe it will leave of its own accord,” Paul said. We sat at the kitchen table, an old farm table so heavy it took two people to shift it, and listened. Perfect, I thought. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

 

Sisters of Mercy

by Joan Leegant

 

First published in Bellevue Literary Review

 

The surgeon came into the O.R. chewing gum. This was how we knew there’d be a problem. It wasn’t the gum but what it was meant to disguise. We’re not talking bad breath. The patient was shaved, supine, out. His wife was in the plastic chair in the hall gripping the handle of her pocketbook. He’s the best in the business, we assured her. READ MORE

 

 


 

 


 

Forgotten Horses

by Mark Wagstaff

 

First published in Brand

 

The promise, stuck so thin, the glue cracked wide in a harsh, March wind. By Central station—where the fast trains took lads like I’d once been away from the northern city—the promise was clean design, modern civic spaces, glowing on developers’ billboards in computer-driven dreams. The new Derngate, the new Moorbank. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Living on This Beach

by Alex Leslie

 

First published in Branch

 

Somebody is living on this beach. Under the sweeping. It comes in. Broom of the whole shaking. Brings another. From the water full of it. I am the only recipient now. Only one after it. Study the sockets. Read the expression in the bone, frail face, and fin and sand is flesh. Press it.  READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Box

by Robert Coover

 

First published in Conjunctions

 

She finds a box by the curb. Someone must have dropped it. They are not poor, but they do not have all they want, so she takes it home and shows it to her husband, in the hope they might extract magical wealth from it. A new car maybe, a chest of gold doubloons, free movie tickets. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Leap

by Marisa Silver

 

First published in Ecotone

 

The girls were manning a lemonade stand—a medium-size Dixie cup for fifty cents a cup, or a cup with a Hydrox cookie for seventy-five. Sheila, her older sister, Trudy, and Maggie and Jeannie, ten-year-old twins who lived down the street, sat on folding chairs behind the small card table the twins’ mother had loaned them. The backs of Sheila’s thighs burned from the heat trapped in the metal of her chair. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Million Pound Shop

by Ian Wild

 

First published in Albedo One

 

I work in an old seaside town. Many quaint shops lurk down cobbled alleys, waiting to mug unsuspecting tourists, but none is so singular as The Million Pound Shop. One lunch hour after walking farther along the quayside than usual to admire fishing boats, higgledy-piggledy in their moorings, I found a narrow lane between two pubs on the waterfront. The first twenty paces promised much. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Friday

by Vyacheslav Pyetsukh

 

First published in St. Petersburg Review

 

It’s astonishing, but from time immemorial the Russian sense of self has been under the dominion, even the yoke, of its native discourse. The Danes didn’t read their Kierkegaard for a hundred years, the French didn’t take orders from Stendhal until he turned up his toes, while in our country some school teacher from Saratov—the son of a priest—writes that for the sake of the nation’s future it would be good to learn to sleep on a bed of nails, and half the nation starts sleeping on a bed of nails. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Tree

by Torgny Lindgren

 

First published in Asymptote

 

Una was a tree growing in a village between the river valleys, below the mountains and beyond the seacoast. In the village there were thirty-two homesteads, a church, a smithy and an ancient stone circle. The church was a recent construction, built out of mighty granite boulders at the north end of the only street. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

A Living Corpse

by Faouzia Aloui

 

First published in Banipal

 

Everyone gathered in the alleyway. It filled up; bursting with people. Everything in the nearby streets and alleys came to a standstill. Shops closed their shutters and doors. Some remained half-open; their owners had rushed out. The roar of machinery ground to a halt as people began to stream in from all over, some on foot, others on donkeys and a few crammed onto trucks. READ MORE   

 


 

 


 

Andy Warhol

by Keith Ridgway

 

First published in The Stinging Fly

 

I am standing still, smoking a cigarette, staring at Marilyn Monroe. This is Dublin. In the mid-1980s. I am waiting outside the Gay Men’s Health Clinic, or whatever it’s called, on Haddington Road, off Baggot Street. Marilyn is looking at me. And I’m looking at her. And I am walking with a semi and a cigarette through the Upper East Side of New York City. And it’s a few months earlier. And I am staring at Andy Warhol, wondering if that is Andy Warhol, if it is really Andy Warhol. READ MORE   

 


 

 


 

Hotels

by Josephine Rowe

 

First published in Meanjin

 

They live in hotels for awhile, after he does that to her face. Not real bad, but bad enough for them to leave the same night. Frantically packing the car as though hoping to outrun some unknowable natural disaster. There’s sand in the bed, Baby, he’s saying. Back at the house, a million years ago in the suburbs. And she won’t tell him why. She’s letting him believe things. There’s sand in the bed, and they are a long way from the ocean. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

The Family

by Raúl Ortega Alfonso

 

First published in The Barcelona Review

 

My mother invented fear. Her own, which is highly personal, she keeps in the drawers of an enormous closet that my grandfather made from the boxes he stole from the dead seconds after they were buried. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

It's Always Better When We're Together

by Maya Klein

 

First published in The Ilanot Review

 

The night they hosted the dinner, he came home early with his arms full. It was an act of good faith, and she knew it, yet it soon came to ruin. They had been together, she and Avner, for almost four years but seldom entertained at home. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Walter Schultz

by Undinė Radzevičiūtė

 

First published in The Vilnius Review

 

There are still some people whose life has been changed by a book. Gunther knew two men who suffered from Nabokov’s Lolita. One lived his life according to the book, while the other only wanted to. He also knew an intelligent woman who, when she was asked what type of man she preferred, always answered “like Sherlock Holmes.” READ MORE

 


 

 


 

An Elegy for Easterly

by Petina Gappah

 

First published in Kwani?

 

It was the children who first noticed that there was something different about the woman they called Martha Mupengo. They followed her, as they often did, past the houses in Easterly Farm, houses of pole and mud, of thick black plastic sheeting for walls and clear plastic for windows, houses that erupted without city permission, unnumbered houses identified only by reference to the names of their occupants. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

He Painted Cupids on Soup Plates

by Carmel Bird

 

First published in Island 

 

All lines of longitude converge at the Poles. The South Pole is at 90 degrees South latitude. The island of Tasmania lies at 42 degrees South latitude and at 147 degrees East longitude. All things considered, this is not an ideal location for the smallish heart-shaped piece of land (known as Tasmania, after the Dutch explorer who discovered it in 1642, the year the English Civil War began, the year Isaac Newton was born, the year Galileo died). READ MORE

 


 

 


 

Big River

by Libbie Chellew


First published in Wet Ink

 

My wife Leah had made an appointment with the doctor. She had a lump. I was leaning on the kitchen bench. I watched her tighten the loose handle of our frying pan with a screwdriver. READ MORE

 


 

 


 


The Vanishing Twin  

by Craig Davidson

 

First published in The Fiddlehead

 

A new resident showed up that afternoon. They called us residents instead of, y’know, convicts, same as they call this place a Home—technically it was a Juvenile Custody Facility—instead of prison. Custodians instead of guards. Bunkdown area instead of cellblock. If they ever printed a brochure, commenting on its “natural setting” and “stimulating activities,” you’d think it was a summer camp. READ MORE

 


 

 


 

An excerpt from The Long Fire

by Meghan Tifft

 

Published by The Unnamed Press 

 

"At the age of six, I was terrified of the beach: the loose grit in the bottom of the car from the last day trip we had taken, the wet billowing air on my bare shoulders, the brackish gray sand dented and churned by thousands of feet, the malicious little bits of shell that stabbed me when we walked to our spot, the rubbery clumps of cloudy green seaweed strewn everywhere, and worst of all, the appearance of that great glittering ocean surging up in heavy powerful waves, which was there, I knew, to search out the shame and guilt I couldn’t find inside myself and then swallow me under it forever." READ MORE

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

7 Tales and 7 Stories

by W. P. Osborn

 

Published by Unboxed Books 

 

"W.P. Osborn's debut story collection, 7 Tales and 7 Stories, also serves as the debut of Unboxed Books Press. The book is the winner of the 2013 Unboxed Books Prize in Fiction. Francine Prose, who selected the winner, attributed her choice to the collection's 'weird obsessiveness and bizarre poetry.' As the title suggests, the book juxtaposes what one would call tall tales with more traditional storytelling. However, the split does not seem to be quite seven and seven. Instead, the effect is of an entire collection that plays with the line between fantasy and reality." READ MORE

 

 


 

 


 


Hill William

by Scott McLanahan

 

Published by NYTyrant

 

"Hill William (NYTyrant) by Scott McClanahan deserves at least five reads. First one, you’re a teenager, and your sister has just graduated college. She gives it to you like a present but it isn’t Christmas and it isn’t your birthday. But this book is a present nonetheless. You flash through it on the bus thinking you are growing valuable in a worldly way that none of your classmates can even imagine yet. You start laughing at the news." READ MORE

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Domesticated Wild Things

by Xhenet Aliu

 

Published by University of Nebraska Press 

 

"At the heart of each of Xhenet Aliu's eleven stories in Domesticated Wild Things is a powerful sense—a smell, a taste, a sound—that isn't always positive. The stories in this debut collection center around the ugliness that can penetrate all, surrounded by the biting humor and absurdity that makes life bearable. Aliu herself is a native of Waterbury, Connecticut, an area whose brass industry attracted large waves of Eastern European immigrants, her parents being two. Set in non-descript but familiarly seedy settings, these stories tell of the children of immigrants looking for connection and forever aspiring. There are wrestling matches, bears, pet snakes, and many women looking for a way out." READ MORE

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Tide King

by Jen Michalksi 

 

Published by Black Lawrence Press

 

"Jen Michalksi’s debut novel, The Tide King (Black Lawrence Press), spans almost two centuries and tackles with honesty and skill a question all of ask: What if we could live forever? The novel follows three individuals touched by the herb burnette saxifrage, which carries the power of immortality. Ela Zdunk, a nine-year-old girl is given the tincture by her “witch” mother during an invasion in nineteenth century Poland. Stanley Polensky is gifted the herb by his mother before he heads off to WWII. He becomes unlikely buddies with Calvin Johnson, a boy from the Midwest. The narrative moves between time periods and perspectives, eventually forcing the characters to collide." READ MORE

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Crapalachia

by Scott McClanahan

 

Published by Two Dollar Radio

 

"In his lecture titled 'The Riddle of Poetry,' Borges stretches a quote from Bishop Berkley to fit over all of literature. 'The taste of the apple is neither in the apple itself—the apple cannot taste itself—nor in the mouth of the eater. It requires a contact between them. The same thing happens to a book…What is a book? A book is a physical object in a world of physical objects. It is a set of dead symbols. Then the right reader comes along and the words, or rather the poetry behind the words (for the words themselves are mere symbols) spring into life and we have a resurrection of the word.' Scott McClanahan’s Crapalachia resurrects words." READ MORE

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Big World

by Mary Miller

 

Published by Short Flight/Long Drive

 

"There are thirteen stories, and you’re lucky. You get to savor each one completely. Short story collections are oftentimes hit-or-miss, or half-miss, or somewhere along the lines of a half-shrug except for that great sentence or this one story that was almost perfect…but the ending, what happened? None of Miller’s stories are like that. They are hit after hit, plus eleven more hits." READ MORE

 

 


 

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