The next day, I had a high fever and terrible headache as expected, but my sister didn’t return. Mother bought porridge and medicine, but she had to leave at the usual time. “I’m sorry, but I promised my friends I would come over.” She wrote down a phone number on the calendar. “If your fever gets worse and you need me to take you to the hospital, just call Mrs. Koyama and ask for me.” I nodded, knowing I wouldn’t call. She was going for mahjong and they needed four players. They couldn’t continue with one player missing. Just like … Continue reading Rainbirds

In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills

Rachel follows him out onto a succession of thin wooden planks, jumping over oozing mud from one section to the next, her heart beating fast as she loses her balance and grabs his hand. Halfway across the boardwalk, Tucker stops abruptly. “Bingo, zebras at ten o’clock,” he whispers, pointing to three large animals and two smaller ones approaching the lake. The family is so close that Rachel hears the hooves sloshing through the mucky grass. She starts to crouch, but there’s nowhere to hide. “Relax,” Tucker says. “They don’t know to be afraid of us. Just keep a polite distance.” … Continue reading In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills

Winter Sisters

“What more do you want me to do?” There was a new, brittle edge to Mantel’s voice. “Pick up the cobblestones one by one and look at their undersides? They’re gone, madam. We have looked in every cranny of the city, just as you have. Most times, you’d been to a place even before we’d gotten there ourselves. There’s nowhere else to look.” “That’s not possible. There’s always something else to be done.” “Listen to me. We kept watch for your young ones, we did. Stopped urchins on the street – you know, those ones that live in the hovels … Continue reading Winter Sisters

My Valentine’s Day Read: The Queen of Hearts

We think it’s the big actions that shape us – the choice to pursue medical school over business school, turning down a date with one guy in favor of another, the regrettable decision to have an affair. But in reality, all of those things come about from the unconscious and barely considered actions that shape a life: Blowing off studying one night to watch TV. Laughing at a lame joke to make someone feel better. Allowing more eye contact than necessary with a man you knew to be no good. It’s the innumerable smaller choices that snowball into larger vectors, … Continue reading My Valentine’s Day Read: The Queen of Hearts

Winter Read #3: Sweetgirl

The stink got worse when I reached the second story, and I buried my nose in the crook of my arm and whispered for Carletta. I scanned the floor with my flashlight. The hall was narrow and unlit. The wallpaper was patterned with roosters and torn in wide strips, and beneath the paper, I could see the wood framing, and feel the cold whistling through. There was a door on each side of the hall and when I opened the first, the stench was like a wall I walked smack into. I jerked at the shoulders,and braced myself in the door … Continue reading Winter Read #3: Sweetgirl

Winter Read #2: The Vanishing Season

Maggie continued through the kitchen into the living room, which looked out across a crumbling deck toward the blue shimmer of the lake. Turning left toward another open archway, she walked through a web that she had to pick out of her mouth, then moved on down the hall to the stairs. She laid her hand on the wobbly banister and creeped her way up to the second floor. To her left, she found what she instantly knew would be her room: a nook with a slanted ceiling and a large window that looked out on the grass and across … Continue reading Winter Read #2: The Vanishing Season

The Nest

Leonard was, and this was quite literally how he thought of himself several times a day, a self-made man. It was the organizing principle of his life that money and its concurrent rewards should flow from work, effort, commitment, and routine. At one time, the Plumbs of Eastern Long Island had family money and a decent amount of real estate. Decades of behavioral blunders and ill-conceived marriages and businesses run amok had left next to nothing by the time Leonard was in high school. He’d wangled himself an engineering scholarship to Cornell and then a job with Dow Chemical during … Continue reading The Nest

My 4th of July Read: America’s First Daughter

Sons of the revolution fight for liberty. They give blood, flesh, limbs – their very lives. But daughters – we sacrifice our eternal souls. This I am sure of as I stand in the quiet emptiness of my father’s private chambers. I’m here now because my father is dead and buried, and I am left to make sense of it all. – America’s First Daughter by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray America’s First Daughter by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I would read a book about our founding fathers, and when I came … Continue reading My 4th of July Read: America’s First Daughter

Rare Objects

She was wearing pearls. That was the first thing I noticed about her. Large and even, perfectly matched, falling just below her collarbone over the thin blue cotton hospital gown. She strolled into the dayroom of the Bingamton State Hospital with its bare institutional green walls and floor stinking of strong bleach like she was wandering into the dining room of the Ritz. Willowy and fine-boned, she had blue eyes, fringed by long, very black lashes, and deep brown hair, cut in a straight bob, pushed back from her face. A navy cardigan was draped casually over her shoulders, as … Continue reading Rare Objects

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

“Hey,” Brick says finally. “What did you wish?” “I can’t tell you,” I say. But I think, If only Robbie had been a bird. If only we had been a family that could fly. – The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is a novel about a biracial girl named Rachel, the daughter of a Danish woman and an African American father living in America in the 1970s. At a young age, Rachel’s mother leaped off the roof of a … Continue reading The Girl Who Fell from the Sky