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
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?
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 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.
If You Waited Here, You Would
See Almost Everything
by Danny Goodman
After Ray collapses on the sidewalk outside a New York coffee shop, the bittersweet vagaries of his long marriage come into focus, one heartbeat at a time. From his new vantage point, flat on his back, all their conflicts are laid out against a canvas of sky, contrasting miscommunications and infidelities against something slower, steadier, and ultimately much vaster than he ever realized.
by Pauline Holdstock
Inspired by true events, this story by Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author Pauline Holdstock tells of the incredible bond between a mother and daughter, and with gut-wrenching poignancy reminds us of the little things that make life worth living.
“Hers is the kind of prose you get lost in.”
— National Post on The Hunter and the Wild Girl
“Holdstock’s writing manages to be both heartbreakingly poetic and densely detailed ... sad passages, ghostlike recollections, written almost from the vantage point of the present, establish the book as a great work of fiction.”
— The Globe and Mail on Into the Heart of the Country, longlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize
“Holdstock, with a few deft strokes, pulls the reader into the tumultuous life of an alluring rabble of characters: painters, sculptors, patrons, fools, and slaves ... In Beyond Measure, she proves herself a master of pacing. Her lively, macabre plot trips lightly along in spite of its dark elements.”
— The Globe and Mail on Beyond Measure, finalist for the 2004 Giller Prize and the 2004 Commonwealth Writers' Prize
After an unexpected malfunction, the technology which enables humanity to cross vast distances has separated an interstellar traveler from the love of her life — not in space, but in time. Now, while her companions remain in stasis, she must endure the loneliness of the journey until the moment her lover wakes.
Winner of the 2015 Friends of Merril Short Story Contest, When I'm Old, When I'm Grey imagines the strange — and strangely familiar — forms that fear and longing can take, as we venture forth into the unknown of the future.
In the Afternoon
by Laure Baudot
Catherine wants what Richard has: a richly decorated house, and a perfect, lavished-upon baby. Catherine also wants Richard: a disaffected diplomat whose true passion is for cinema. But Catherine is only the babysitter, and her envy—and its fallout—come to the fore when Richard is accused of a crime, and she must decide whether to help exonerate him.
“Laure Baudot’s prose is exquisite, patient, and sophisticated. In the Afternoon immerses you in the fascinating and complicated mind of a babysitter who is wise beyond her years, yet dangerously impulsive at the same time. This story is irresistible and heartbreaking.”
— Sarah Selecky, author of the 2010 Giller Prize–shortlisted collection This Cake Is for the Party