Our new issue is by Carrie Brown, best known for her novels The Rope Walk, Lamb in Love, The Hatbox Baby and Rose’s Garden. Here she returns to short stories, which she last approached in her collection The House on Belle Isle. It makes sense that Carrie is primarily a novelist, because in “A Splendid Life,”she produces a story that has the scope and feel of a much longer work. I was only a few sentences in when I completely relaxed into the narrative voice and was compelled by the setting. When Peter faces his retirement from The Balm of Gilead, a home for the mentally disabled, he returns to his childhood lakeside home. It is not long before he is forced to face the memory of Mary Danger, a misfit girl whose attachment harassed him as a boy. The past and the present intertwine as Peter reminisces about their brief connection, and faces the waning years of his own life. Throughout the story is a larger theme of space and time, and how both shrink with age. This seems encapsulated by G.K. Chesterton quote: ” All my life I have loved frames and limits; and I will maintain that the largest wilderness looks larger seen through a window.” Carrie Brown has created her own frame with this short story; between the pages an expanse of character and place has opened, and its view is endless.