Web Exclusive Interview: Leslie Parry

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Our December Web Exclusive, “The Night Bus, beautifully elucidates the moment two lives intersect—lives forever changed by random acts of violence. We talked with author Leslie Parry about anonymity, anxiety, and a very effective antidote for procrastination. […]

A Guide to Sirens

Jacques Callot (French, 1592 - 1635 ), Siren between Two Ships, 1628, etching, Rosenwald Collection

Frank’s island tour—offered free to hotel guests—is described by the Paradise Inn’s brochure as a brief excursion into the island’s myths, mysteries, and mermaids, its selkies and sirens. What the brochure fails to mention is that most of the tour is aimed at selling extra-cost amenities. Frank has today’s group look at the hotel’s spa, the sea-themed restaurant, the saltwater pool, and some pinkish seashells with purported medicinal properties. Only after that does he finally gather the handful of patrons inside a thatched pavilion on the beach. […]

Ships

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In Varna we stayed in the apartment building across the street from the house of the sea captain. There lived his juicy wife, beautiful daughter, gorgeous son-in-law, and two grandchildren, a girl and Mario. The heads of the black Labrador and the big orange cat were framed by the heart-shaped iron door ornament, and a gold plaque below them read: “Captain Tomov’s family. An exemplary home.” Every year it seemed the house grew one story higher. It looked like a schooner. The wind billowed out the colorful sheets and beach towels that hung on wooden clothespins, threatening to sail the entire house away. […]

The Tobacconist

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George searched his pockets for change, cluttering the counter with lint and pen caps, a crumpled tissue, pausing to clean his glasses while the tobacconist waited at the open register. It was the tobacconist he cared about, not the neatly lined cigars he had thumbed through moments earlier. George could see the smoke shop from his kitchen window, and last week had watched the tobacconist as he emerged and stood on the street corner in a pouring rain, until his coat was drenched through and rain coursed from his hat. […]

Jaws

Knustler illustration for "Jaws" by Terese Svoboda

That’s the book she cracks as soon as she’s fought off her little brother for the back. Not a hatchback, that is a decade in the future, but the way back, where the station wagon’s nasty final seats never get pulled up into position, the one with the backwards view, her preferred. The roads to the north are pretty straight—what is there to bend them?—and except for a series of smooth dips that everybody shrieks through, flat as the pancakes she had for breakfast. Perfect for extreme terror on the water at two hundred-plus pages. […]

When a Woman Thinks That Her House Is on Fire

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Nasya Beckman wakes to the smell of smoke. She rolls onto her side and swats clumsily at her alarm clock, as though this is the source of the disturbance, as though this is some new technology for waking heavy sleepers—the release of gas. In fact, the alarm clock is an antique, a six-inch double-bell with a little copper hammer. It was a gift from Nasya’s rabbi for her one hundred volunteer hours as a kiddush hostess, minyan attendee, and Bikur cholim coordinator. Her rabbi said he’d never seen such devotion. He said it was good to keep oneself busy following tragedy. […]

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