If the short story collections of John Cheever and Flannery O’Connor had a love child, it would be The Beasts of Belladonna. Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, Gilbert Allen’s collection of fifteen linked stories explores every corner of the suburbanized foothills of South Carolina.
A timely, stylishly written, and brilliantly conceived metaphysical thriller, Coyote Fork carries us on an unforgettable journey, before bringing us face to face with the darkness at the heart of Silicon Valley itself.
Fan is an adjunct professor, the daughter of a coal miner who attended college only to find herself teaching at a salary that’s brought her close to poverty-level again. When she and her husband move to Korea so he can investigate cloning using human cells, she finds herself having an affair, even as her husband gets caught trying to publish falsified research.
Filomena is a maid who begins to steal clothing from the rooms of wealthy guests, dressing up and haunting the hotel where she works. As she questions her own sexuality, she becomes obsessed with televangelists. Filomena begins communicating anonymously with hotel guests through text messages, delivering reassurances and warnings.
Finally, there is Cate, a reality star who manages her own reality television career and that of her family. She orchestrates the alcoholic binges of her rock-star husband, edits the family’s daily footage, arranges re-shoots, and crafts her world as well as that of her mother and sisters.
All three characters confront the question: when are we most ourselves—when we realize the selves we aspire to, or when we are unadorned? The characters converge on the same place: Filomena’s hotel, where Cate comes to stay before a public appearance. The three point-of-view characters come together, after which each will come away changed.
The lyric poems in Phillippo’s radiant debut collection Thunderhead explore faith, motherhood, family, and community. As the author has put it, she has lived her life “backwards,” first raising a large family, then going back to school, and only now seeing her work find its way into print.
Rooted in Midwestern farm country near where she grew up, these place-based poems reflect a spiritual practice: searching for—and expecting to find—the sacred in the ordinary world of trees and weeds and seasons.
Here you will find red-rooted pigweed and red-wing blackbirds, cornfields, woods, streams, gardens, and the creatures (human and otherwise) who inhabit them, in addition to a wide night sky filled with stars, and the ancient underground river, the Teays, that throbs and flows beneath them all.
The poems in Toward inhabit the landscapes and seascapes of the wild southwest of Ireland, the islands of America’s Pacific Northwest, the poet’s home in Massachusetts, and then round again, back to the land north of Dublin. Moira Linehan’s eye and imagination capture lyrical, sonic, and imagistic details of these places. So, too, their embedded history: the Famine, the days of the whaling industry, and the speaker’s paternal genealogy are all woven in.
“Somebody we’ve all heard of once turned water into wine. With this project it’s more like turning vinegar into arsenic. In the first place, most everyone on the translation committee arrived with suspicions. And those suspicions were quickly confirmed.”
“EARLY IN HIS ADULT LIFE, Peter Paul Rubens, the famous painter—though he was not yet famous at the time—took a trip to Italy with his apprentice Deodat del Monte. Rubens had been living in Antwerp with his mother. He wasn’t born in Antwerp, he was born in Siegen, in what is now Germany but was, at the time, not the unified country that it is today. Rubens was born in the time before nation-states as we know them existed. Before the French Revolution, before Bismarck, before Napoleon. Rubens was born in Siegen because his father had been in prison there, or thereabouts. That’s another part of the story we’ll get into later, the arrest and near execution of Rubens’s father.”
“Yes, it is true: I knew John Milton. I let the words stand on the page, the ink still wet. It has taken me all of three weeks to find the courage to write this letter…”