One Story has a rule: we don’t like to publish novel excerpts. Nearly always, when I read novel excerpts in other magazines, I walk away feeling unsatisfied. But every once in a while, a chapter from a novel crosses my desk that works as a stand alone short story. We did it once before, with Calvin Baker’s “Dominion.” And now we’re doing it again, with Issue #134, Susanna Daniel’s “Stiltsville.” I was reading an advance copy of the book, and fell in love with these characters, Dennis and Frances. Set in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, “Stiltsville” follows two marriages–that of Dennis and Frances, as they clean up from the storm, and that of their newlywed daughter. The dialogue, the pacing, and the tenderness between this married couple is so authentic and true. And every time I get to the end, I find myself choking up.
But it’s the setting of Florida, and especially the place that is Stiltsville, that literally elevates this story to magic. Stiltsville is an area located on Biscayne Bay, with houses built on stilts over the water. Only 7 of these houses are left–the rest of them have been washed away. You can see more pictures and find out more about Stiltsville in Susanna’s Q&A with us. And if you want to find out what happens to Dennis and Frances, you can pre-order your copy of Stiltsville, the novel or visit Susanna’s website. Her book will be published by Harper Collins on August 3, 2010. A perfect read for the end of summer!