by Cynthia Flood
New wife and mother Julie is a woman struggling to find her place. Her dilemmas, while modest, feel harsh, and reflect the ways in which women were once denied control over their own bodies. Her first steps toward independence bring great pain—and not only to herself. With sparing, incisive prose, Cynthia Flood unravels what it meant to be a married woman in post-war era Vancouver, creating an evocative and even unsettling experience for the reader.
“With a precision of language that startles and delights, Cynthia Flood offers glimpses of those moments in which the essence of an entire life is revealed.”
— Nancy Richler, author of The Imposter Bride
“What a great story! Told in terse, restrained sentences, yet opening to a lush and radiant heart, Addresses captures the anguish of a marriage gone off the rails, and the moments of redemption that arrive from unexpected places. Flood’s use of language is uniquely her own–staccato, clean as a knife, and brilliant. Cynthia Flood has done it again.”
— Shaena Lambert, author of Radiance
“The abruptness of the title tells so much about this exquisitely drawn story by Cynthia Flood. ‘Tell the truth but tell it slant,’ Emily Dickinson advised, and that’s always been the approach Flood has preferred for her bone-china fictions, edging into them sideways. Once escorted into the story’s arrhythmic heart, we readers have no choice but to immerse ourselves in a world long gone but still very much with us, to emerge both shaken and stirred.”
— Dave Margoshes, author of A Book of Great Worth
The right apartment. Meaning what?
For Julie, that Jeremy be in it.
He did the hunting. Often she came along, still happy though sickish-dazed from The Pill.
Distinctive 1 BR suite even had a pantry. They moved in.
By then Julie could, just, see around him.
Also she knew she had never filled Jeremy’s vision.
Sort-of arguments began, about The Pill. After research that took a lot of time away from his work, he decided on condoms and foam.
In the distinctive building’s entry, ceramic tiles were octagons in a complex black-and-white arrangement. There was stained glass and no elevator. No laundry room. The brass door-plates and fir floors were original.
“I checked.” Satisfied, Jeremy closed the pantry door to work for hours so they could get ahead.
The paned windows stood tall, Julie not. They and the floors gleamed (she made sure of that), yet the elegant life once lived in these turn-of-the-century Vancouver rooms did not seem like anything she could match.
“What about a baby?”
“No, not yet.”
Every time, Julie did not start a third interchange. Did she lack character? She hungered for concord. They settled, kind of, on “Soon.”
To be alone so much was still surprising. The magazines suggested picking one room each day, in rotation, for special cleaning. Julie did that. She ordered dress patterns, clipped recipes. Dinner was quite good sometimes. When Jeremy stayed late at the law office, she’d get into bed to wait, wanting him.
The spermicidal foam oozed all over the bed linen. Back and forth Julie walked to the laundromat, never meeting the same people there.
Jeremy couldn’t or wouldn’t believe she hadn’t tricked him.
“Got your way, again.” He slapped at the want ads, some red-circled. “I have no time for this. Can you at least follow up?”
Did “again” mean he hadn’t wanted to marry?
Julie followed up, went further.
Of the place she found, he said, “It’ll do for the time being.”
What could time do but be?
Jeremy conceded the value of 2 BR, nr shops, bus, beach, although old frame houses with lacy trim had been bulldozed to make space for the mod apt tower. He deplored and Julie smiled at the lobby’s earnest mural of a tropical sunset, the palm trees etched on the mirror near the mailboxes.
Of 1 prkg he said, “Too bad you were careless. No money for that now.”
Their own decor did please him. All paint and textiles and floor coverings were bone. Not the red lumps that dogs gnaw on, Julie knew that. White trim.
“Perfect neutrals. You do see how they don’t call attention to themselves?”
about the author
CYNTHIA FLOOD’s latest publication is The English Stories (Biblioasis 2009), linked fictions set at a girls’ school and in a hotel in 1950s Britain, when the empire was imploding though many UK citizens hadn’t noticed. Her short fiction has won the Journey Prize and awards from PRISM International, National Magazines, and Western Magazines. Stories have appeared most recently in The New Quarterly, CNQ, and Grain. Cynthia Flood is now writing a fourth book of stories, unlinked, with the working title of Red Girl Rat Boy. She lives in Vancouver. Visit her website at www.cynthiaflood.com.
from the library
A small-time internet scammer is shaken from her somewhat safe new life when an investigator arrives with questions to do with her erstwhile "period of moral decline" — specifically, the whereabouts of a young woman whose brief, bright friendship nearly steered her from the stability she now craves.
by Caroline Adderson
Coming out of an unhappy relationship and a stint at an artist colony, Charlotte, a writer, takes a job teaching at a private ESL college. There she befriends Renata—audacious, sexy, and as changeable as Proteus. “I have a story for you,” Renata says to her one day over lunch. She doesn’t elaborate further, but Charlotte soon discovers that she has found in Renata an unexpectedly passionate and compelling subject.
“Caroline Adderson is such a graceful and intelligent writer that the work that must surely go into creating her hilarious, prismatic stories is never betrayed in the language. There is no strain on the page, not a bead of sweat. I think of her as a writer’s writer. I envy her talent and learn from her sentences. The short story, Obscure Objects, is, I’m happy to report, Adderson at her glorious best.”
— Barbara Gowdy, author of Helpless and The White Bone
“Obscure Objects, Caroline Adderson’s fierce and affecting workplace comedy, is a deadpan gem: droll, moving, snapping-smart.”
— Meg Wolitzer, author of The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, and The Position
by Kayt Burgess
When Blanche first began singing, she was humble, eager, willing to work, willing to learn. Now she is headstrong, condescending, unprofessional, and just a tiny bit full of herself. She is also the closest to genius that Antoinette, her accompanist, may ever have a chance to work with.
In this unexpectedly dark character study, Jessica Westhead puts you in the shoes of an apprentice forced to listen to a seasoned wedding DJ as he lectures on the tricks of the trade. Emboldened by the captivity of his audience, the DJ's 'humorous' observations and grievances claw deeper and deeper, betraying ugliness at the core.
“In the still-frothing wake of And Also Sharks, here’s another sadly hilarious and hilariously sad Jessica Westhead story with bite. The self-deluding wedding DJ in The Lesson is a perfect addition to Westhead’s bent gallery of sympathetic sad sacks blustering their way through work and love ever after.”
— Zsuzsi Gartner, author of All the Anxious Girls on Earth and the 2011 Giller Prize–shortlisted Better Living Through Plastic Explosives
The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive:
by Kirsty Logan
Embark upon these twenty short, scrumptious flights of fancy from the unmistakable pen of Scott Prize-winning author Kirsty Logan, and you will be astounded, titillated, disturbed, amused, heartbroken, and above all, astonished.
“Logan crafts an exquisitely wrought diorama full of tenderly compelling characters; observations about grief, worship, social order, and human nature, and a love that transcends definition.”
– NPR on Logan's debut novel The Gracekeepers
Portraits of people marooned within themselves, trapped by their past experiences, by uncertainty and anxiety — individuals for whom each new situation is a grueling journey towards the present, a place where action and choice are possible. In Second World, Matt Cahill illustrates, with honesty and empathy, how the most important breakthroughs are not the life-altering revelations, but rather the minor miracles that get us through each day.
A hybrid travelogue and memoir that pieces together the fragmented recollections of one woman’s rocky journey toward vegetarianism. From her rural upbringing in francophone Northeastern Ontario to exotic locations, outlandish adventures, and bizarre meals, Julie relives her struggle to make the right food choices for herself and examines the consequences of her decisions.