Issue #156: The Quiet

When I am reading a good story, there is nearly always a moment, early on, when I feel suddenly pulled, like magic, into the world the author has created. It happened on page two of C. Joseph Jordan’s “The Quiet,” when I read the line: The doctor who examined him had a propensity to slam doors. After that sentence I was right beside Sergeant Malick, twitching at every loud noise and experiencing the strangeness of the real world after wartime. At his Welcome Home party, Sergeant Malick wanders through the house he grew up in. He is a changed man, unable to share the secrets he carries, but room by room, he begins to leave the soldier behind and find himself again. C. Joseph Jordan has been working on “The Quiet”  for years, and it shows in the careful way he re-creates Sergeant Malick’s experience. Be sure to visit our Q&A to find out how Jordan revised the piece and drew on the experiences of current soldiers returning from overseas. As timing would have it, just as One Story went to press with this issue, President Obama announced that all American troops would be leaving Iraq by the end of the year. Here’s to everyone coming home safely. Until then, I hope our readers will enjoy “The Quiet,” a haunting story of one soldier crossing between two worlds.

White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby

N.M. Kelby, author of One Story issue #54 “Jubilation, Florida,” has just come out with a  new novel called White Truffles in Winter based on the life of renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier (1846–1935), who changed how we eat through his legendary restaurants at The Savoy and The Ritz. In the novel, Escoffier is torn between two women: the famous, beautiful, and reckless actress Sarah Bernhardt; and his wife, the independent and sublime poet Delphine Daffis who refused to ever leave Monte Carlo. Set in the last year of Escoffier’s life, in the middle of writing his memoirs, he has returned to Delphine, who requests a dish in her name as he has honored Bernhardt, Queen Victoria, and many others. The work has been called “(A book) to carry you away” by Good Housekeeping and Publisher’s Weekly says that any reader “in search of an evocative and sensual read will be well satisfied.” To find out more about this book or N.M. Kelby, be sure to visit her website, and buy a copy today!

Join One Story at the Can Factory on November 22!

Join Akashic Books, Archipelago Books, Ugly Duckling Press, Habitus and One Story for a reading and party at the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn on Tuesday, November 22nd at 7:30 pm. One Story author Rachel Cantor, who wrote “Picnic After the Flood” (issue 80), will be representing One Story. Come prepared for free food, good company, and great literature! Details are here.

One Story & the 2012 Pushcart Prizes!

Hey One Story readers! The 2012 Pushcart Prize Anthology has just been published, and we are thrilled to have so many One Story authors in the mix! Two of our stories won 2012 Pushcart Prizes: “Nephilim” by L. Annette Binder (OS issue #141) and “Number Stations” by Smith Henderson (issue #136). And two other One Story writers, Anna Solomon (issue #73, “What is Alaska Like?”) and Celeste Ng (issue #86, “What Passes Over”), have new stories in the anthology as well. But that’s not all: OS author Ben Stroud (issue #119, “Eraser”) received a special mention, as did our former associate editor Marie-Helene Bertino for her story “Carry Me Home, Sisters of Saint Joseph.” We’d like to congratulate all our writers, and if you want to check out the 2012 Pushcart anthology, you can get your copy here!

Issue #155: Refund

Our new issue, “Refund” was curated and edited by One Story contributing editor Karen Friedman, and so I am passing the blog-reins into her steady and talented hands. I hope you all enjoy this wonderful tale about the complicated role of parenting a gifted child.-HT

Both of my children look like my husband, my son in particular. (Although, at only 7 weeks-old, who knows how long this will last.) The thing is, increasingly I find myself fixating on the color of his eyes. Right now they are blue like my own – the same shade as my father’s and my grandfather’s eyes. Rationally speaking, I know it’s a little meaningless nothing, and yet, it feels like an important tether. An outward signal of other characteristics we might share. Of ownership. Of belonging.

“Refund” by David James Poissant explores some similar territory. Upon discovering that his son, Josh, has been selected to join the gifted class, the main character, Sam, struggles with his desire for his son to be “normal” instead, to be like him. While the outside world unquestioningly values the label “gifted”, Sam is dismayed. It delineates so starkly the differences between father and son – differences that Sam fears will ultimately take his child from him.

The beauty in Poissant’s story lies in his exploration of the intricate web of pride, love, and blame that accompanies raising a child and hoping to do the best for him, even when it’s not clear how or what that might be, even when it might be the worst alternative for a parent. For more information about how the story was developed, read our Q&A with the author.

As for my son’s eyes, if they turn mostly brown like my daughter’s, I’ll get over it. But both of them better love books.