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
by Nicole Chin
In a world terrorized by a mysterious criminal organization that recruits children as its foot soldiers, a boy reflects on the journey - steeped in a cocktail of friendship and fear - that has drawn his life past the point of no return.
by Jessica Westhead
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
Was More Here
by Danny Goodman
In New York City, Ben smokes too much and sleeps with women as a way to deaden his insecurities. With every indiscretion, he fights off adulthood for one more day, until the return of an ex-lover leaves him unsure of everything. Ben’s best friend, Josh, struggles to find the good in his marriage to Maddie, even as he searches for a way to keep from losing her. Ben’s neighbor, Mrs. Aguilera, looks to make peace with those she has already lost. Gripping tightly to one another like the oddest of families, Ben and his friends embody the place in which they live: a city where everything combines, with a touch of perfect madness, into something more than the sum of its parts.
“I love this story because it’s just plain good. The characters are broken and unsure, but the love they have for each other and the humor that carries them along is genuine and lovely to behold. This story made me laugh even while it was hitting me in the gut, and I’d like nothing more than to sit down and drink a beer with everyone in it. Mr. Goodman, thank you for rocking my literary waffle.”
— Lish McBride, author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
by Andrew Forbes
An electrical engineer who has lost almost everything - his marriage, his job, his father - retreats to his garage to re-evaluate and reorganize the various loose ends of his life, and ends up assembling a thermonuclear device instead.
The Snake Crosses
the Tracks at Midnight
by Daniel Karasik
People grow in dimensions other than those we perceive. The teenage narrator of award-winning author Daniel Karasik’s latest story must deal with the fact that his older sister is now a grown woman, and Lucy, his crush-next-door, has become a mystery, with depths beyond his comprehension. Has he been coasting all this time, school and television his life’s only sources of momentum?
Laws of Flight
by Darren Greer
An imaginative and resonant work of speculative literature from ReLit Award-winning author Darren Greer. Twin brothers, born on an oppressive family farm, discover a miraculous way to escape the dreariness of their lives, charting a course that promises equal measures of wonder and heartbreak.
by Naomi K Lewis
As a boy, Timmy (Sir Timothy Brian F. the Fantabulous) tells tall, tragic tales to get attention from the adults in his life - particular his busy mother and Dr. Bass, his nerdy-cool neighbour. As a young man, his escalating lies destroy his relationships, alienate his loved ones, and land him in hot water with police; but that doesn’t stop him from crying wolf again and again.
This Is a Love Crime
by Lee Kvern
Marta is a human resources employee at a grocery store chain. She moves through the days passively, always taking the path of least resistance, until a case at work - that of a hijab-wearing woman, in defiance of a strict no-hats policy - awakens her to the injustices of her own life.
“This Is a Love Crime by Lee Kvern is a cunning and intensely human look at one of the central issues of our time. It negotiates the space between belief, racism, liberty, and sexuality with curiosity and compassion.”
— Todd Babiak, bestselling author of Toby: A Man and The Garneau Block
“Lee Kvern paints with a scalpel. With characteristic unflinching honesty, she peels the relationship between Marta and Corbin back to quivering nerves in This Is a Love Crime and juxtaposes it against veiled assumptions about cultural oppression. The narrative leaps crackle with energy and empathy. When I read Kvern’s stories, I’m seduced by exquisite detail and—love or loathe them—left with the scent of her characters long after the last page.”
— Betty Jane Hegerat, author of Delivery and The Boy
“In This Is a Love Crime, Lee Kvern uses the intricately drawn characters of Corbin and Marta to explore the charged topics of ethnicity and Western modes of submission and control. Written in Kvern’s distinctive, poetic, and multi-layered style, the story leaves us with warm insight into all the characters—and challenges our hearts and preconceptions.”
— Barb Howard, author of Whipstock, Notes for Monday, and The Dewpoint Show