Eileen is a 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, the author’s first full-length book of fiction, which won her the PEN/Hemingway Foundation award in 2016. Set during a bitter winter in 1964, the story follows Eileen Dunlop, a disturbed 24-year-old woman living in a nowhere town in Massachusetts. Between working as a secretary in a youth prison and caring for her callous, alcoholic father at home, Eileen lives a life of misery and self-loathing, fantasizing about leaving her hometown forever. The story follows her life over the course of several days, leading up to the fateful Christmas Eve when her life changes forever.Read More »
Different Seasons is a 1982 collection of four novellas by Stephen King. At the time, this book marked a bit of a departure from horror for King, the stories within telling more dramatic tales. Each novella is headed by a sectional title that assigns a season of the year to it: Hope Springs Eternal for “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”, Summer of Corruption for “Apt Pupil”, Fall from Innocence for “The Body”, and A Winter’s Tale for “The Breathing Method”. In the first story, a wrongfully imprisoned convict manages to rise above his destitute fate, in the second a gifted teen becomes obsessed with the dark past of an elderly local, in the third four rambunctious boys go on a quest to find a dead body, and in the final a single mother-to-be goes beyond the natural in order to save the life of her baby.Read More »
Here (away from it all) is a 1969 novel by Polly Hope, originally published under the pseudonym Maryann Forrest. On an unnamed Greek island, often swamped with tourists, a small number of wealthy expatriates from around the world live a fairly carefree, relaxed lifestyle in one of the island’s villages. Our unnamed narrator lives with her husband, only referred to as “N,” and a number of her children. One lazy summer’s day the island is covered in a thick layer of dust, as if the fallout of some cataclysmic incident. Communication with the rest of the world ceases after this “Day of the Dusting” and leaving the island becomes hazardous. Left to their own devices, the precarious relationship between the native islanders and the foreigners stuck there begins to fall apart, as some of the old traditions come back into fashion and the expats realize they may never have been as welcome as they thought.Read More »
Oh my goodness, I did not realize how long it has truly been since I posted one of these. Seven months. I have been remiss in my commitment to putting these out to keep myself on track, and honestly there has been a lack in work to show for that. I am sorry, though more sorrow than apologetic. I just ought to do better.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and with certain things developing for me in the more than half a year since I posted one of these, I thought I should make damn sure I post one this month before the year is over with.Read More »
Exit West is a 2017 novel by Mohsin Hamid that blends fiction and magical realism. The story follows dual protagonists Nadia and Saeed, a young woman and man who live in an unnamed city that is gradually beset upon by militants. Though Nadia is more independent and outspoken, which goes against tradition, and Saeed is generally more conservative, the two begin a romantic relationship. As they try to survive day-to-day in their city, with the militants encroaching further and further, mysterious doors begin popping up there and around the world, linking places many miles apart. As life in the city becomes nearly unlivable the two seek out one of these doors to escape the daily violence and build a new life far away.Read More »
Sabrina is a 2018 fiction graphic novel by Nick Drnaso, and the first ever graphic novel to make it to the longlist for the Man Booker prize. A young woman named Sabrina Gallo goes missing in Chicago, leaving her family and boyfriend, Teddy, distraught. After a month with no sign of Sabrina, her sister Sandra struggles to cope, while a grieving Teddy goes to stay with his friend Calvin in Colorado. Not long after this, VHS tapes are released to the media depicting Sabrina’s murder. The killer is identified as Timmy Yancey, who is found to have killed himself in his home after sending out the tapes. As the atrocity goes through the 24-hour news cycle and the video surfaces online the situation devolves into rampant speculation about what really happened and harassment of those associated with the victim.Read More »
Over a year ago I submitted this story to a flash fiction writing contest that asked entrants to imagine the relationship between nature and cities in the year 2099. I did not make it far in the competition, but there were thousands of stories entered that I’m sure were much more deserving and I’m honestly just happy that it marked a more official start to my journey into writing fiction.
This story was written to the contest’s specific parameters so I don’t really see myself trying to get it published elsewhere, but I wanted to put it up somewhere for people to read it. It has not been revised in any way from how it was when I submitted it. I hope you enjoy it.Read More »
Aw shucks, it’s been a minute since my last report again. There have been some small developments to write about, however, so I figured I’d do a little check-in with any of you lovely people who are interested.
In my last report I wrote about how I need to form a habit; that I write in bursts with longer periods of inactivity in between. That is unfortunately still the case and I hate myself (only a bit). I feel a little guilty about not having broken that, even though I’m sure others can relate to some degree. Anyway, enough lollygagging.Read More »
Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder is a historical novel following Lib Wright, an English nurse and trainee of the famous Florence Nightingale (the pioneer of modern nursing). She is brought to rural Ireland at the request of a committee of locals to act as sentinel to an 11-year-old girl named Anna O’Donnell. She and her family claim that through God’s will she can live without eating, and has supposedly done so for three months already. Lib’s job, working in shifts with a nun, is to continuously watch the girl for two weeks to see if she is indeed a miraculous child or merely conning her community and the people at large who flock to see her.Read More »
If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino is not just one novel, but several. Told in the second-person, the frame narrative tells the story of an unnamed Reader who buys a new book, If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino, only to find that there was a binding issue printing the book and after the first 32 pages the same chapter is repeated throughout, leaving him unable to continue reading after a moment of suspense in the story. Trying to find a complete version of this initial novel he is mistakenly given a completely different novel by another author, which he resigns to read anyway. This too stops short at a moment of suspense, leading him further down a madcap pursuit of novels that he simply wants to finish reading.Read More »