The Seduction of Soledad Bay | New story at 3:AM Magazine
Just up, a new short story at 3:AM. This is the latest in a series of stories set in the mythical Gulf Coast Alabama town of Ragged Point. The others are “Story Carved in Stone,” “The Left Ladies Club,” and “16 Categories of Desire” — all published in earlier story collections. Here’s a taste.
“Sixteen years later, Francesca Trapper Niedermeyer stabbed Thad Rance to death with a steak knife in a Surf n’ Turf off the interstate outside of Biloxi. Then she ripped his shirt open and cut out his heart (deft and sure—she had read up on it in a surgery manual prior to tracking her father down). In the ensuing confusion, Francesca managed to slip away with the heart in a styrofoam takeout container, flag down a passing trucker, and find her way to Ragged Point where she delivered the heart to Soledad Bay in her kitchen (blue Delft patterned tiles, copper pans hanging from the ceiling rack, oak wine rack against the wall, her husband’s statue-of-David BBQ apron hanging from a peg). Soledad gracefully thanked the girl, put Thad Rance’s heart in the freezer (“just in case,” she said later), telephoned Sheriff Buck, and made Sleepy Time tea in her favourite elephant spout tea-pot. This is the part that got into the newspapers.”
(July 17, 2021)
Introduction to Renato! A Novel by Eugene Mirabelli
My old friend Eugene Mirabelli just published his magnum opus, a novel entitled Renato!, at the end of October with McPherson & Company. I wrote the introduction. Here’s a taste.
“It is as if, in delving always more deeply into who he is, Mirabelli has reinvented the peculiarly Italian, extravagantly melodramatic and often comic vision—the opera—in the novel form. By fusing the tale of American mid-life domestic chaos with the extravagant genealogy of the Cavallù clan, he creates a wonderful interplay of narrative planes, present and past, myth and reality, youth and age. He is a master of montage, sudden narrative breaks, interwoven plots and themes. And he couples this complexity with a sense of tranquil acceptance; not a superficial shrug but a genuinely comic (loving) accommodation to life and death. The Cavallù family, Sicily, and Boston’s North End are Mirabelli’s Yoknapatawpha County, the country of his imagination.”
All the Sad Clowns: On Francis Carco’s Novel “Perversity” | LA Review of Books
“The rightness of Ford’s intuition in bringing Rhys into the frame becomes abundantly clear when you consider that both Carco and Rhys wrote books about gender hierarchy and exploitation — about the patriarchy on meth. Carco wrote about prostitutes and pimps, where sex is business and men brutalize women in plain sight. Rhys dealt with a different group of women — a politer but no less dependent class, manipulated and entrapped by suave, wealthy men in tweeds. In fact, Perversity is very much a Jean Rhys novel except that it’s the male negative to her female positive. Rhys would have written the story from the point of view of Irma, the prostitute who’s shot to death on the last page.”
(July 19, 2020)
Pete & Jigs, 1918: Scenes from the other pandemic | Canadian Notes & Queries
A short essay about my grandmother who was a student nurse at Toronto General Hospital at the time of the 1918 flu pandemic.
“On October 22, at the peak of the city’s Spanish flu pandemic, her friend Jigs (the only name I have for her) stole a few minutes from her hospital duties to scribble a note warning my grandmother not to visit. Then she went on to describe her isolation amid the overflowing wards, the prayers, vigils, deaths, and funerals. Her words are grim and stoic, her affect flat, she had no one else to confide in. ‘I will begin with our class,’ she writes. ‘Jean Thistlethwaite died with it Sunday at midnight. There was a funeral service at Miles Undertaking Chapel last night for the nurses & doctors.’”
A deep appreciation from a man who also reviewed Attack of the Copula Spiders.
“That’s the value of Glover’s essays. His deep analysis of great works of fiction is more like the study of, say, quantum physics: the details are fascinating, and on the surface they don’t seem to have any purpose in one’s daily life. And yet, comprehending the underpinnings of our existence in relation to the evolution of storytelling creates perspective that leads to mindfulness, an understanding of what resonates in the human psyche—what words, what phrases, what desires. If a writer can assimilate the knowledge within Glover’s essays—to know it without consciously thinking of it while writing—it empowers her to create works of deeper, more effective meaning, works that engage on both conscious and subconscious levels.”
Gracious praise from Brendan Riley at Three Percent:
“The Erotics of Restraint is a superlative collection—smart, judicious, clear, interesting, sharp, expertly crafted, infectious as the metonymic impulse—an education in and of itself, a brilliant primer on how to understand, and possibly emulate, modern and postmodern literature.”
(June 6, 2020)
My interview with John Banville now in print | University Press of Mississippi
The University Press of Mississippi has just published Conversations with John Banville, a collection of interviews with that great Irish author. I interviewed Banville, eons ago, with the timeless time of memory, when I had weekly radio interview show at the Albany (NY) public radio station, WAMC. That interview is included with the title I gave it when I uploaded the audio file to Numéro Cinq, “The Beauty and the Tenderness of the World.”
This Conversations series at the University Press has a long list of entries and is wonderful. My Gordon Lish interview is included in another volume. It’s an amazing reference trove for scholars and writers and, yes, even readers.
A Genealogy of Style: A Conversation with Douglas Glover | LA Review of Books
At the beginning, I didn’t have a map. You learn to make your own map. It’s like doing genealogy; you sort through history identifying your ancestors, and you get better at being yourself.
(April 20, 2020)
Photographs below were taken by Douglas Glover except for the ones in which he appears, which were taken by Jacob Glover (Nova Scotia beach pictures), Katharine Abbott (father & son photo), and Melissa Fisher (British Columbia beach picture).
“And I thought how Proust teaches us that all love resides
in anticipation and not the beloved,
that love achieved is only on loan,
that we are martyrs to our desires, which are endless.”
Douglas Glover, Savage Love