I Built No Schools in Kenya

In September 2010, Kirsten Drysdale was tricked. Her friend called with a job offer too curious to refuse: a cruisey-gig as a dementia carer for a rich old man in Kenya. All expenses-paid, plenty of free time to travel or do some freelance reporting. There seemed no good reason to say no... so she got on a plane.Only Kirsten's friend hadn't given her the full story. It was only on arrival in Nairobi that she discovered the rich old man's family was fighting a war around him, and that she would be on the frontline. Caught in the crossfire of all kinds of wild accusations, she also had to spy on his wife, keep his daughter placated, rebuff his marriage proposals, hide the car keys and clip his toenails all while trying to retain her own sanity in the colonial time warp of his home.Meanwhile, the Kenyan army was invading Somalia, Al-Shabaab was threatening terror attacks, the East African bodybuilding scene beckoned, and Kirsten discovered she had long-lost cousins running a...
Views: 595

Living Things

Black Creek, South Carolina: a small town in the swamps that convinces itself that nothing bad has ever happened and nothing bad ever will. Black Creek is the sort of place where young girls roam the streets free to imagine who they are and who they'll become. Where women sell pies and plants at the courthouse square. Where the fire department rescues cats from the tops of electric poles. And what trouble there is, they'll tell you, stays past the town limits, in the run-down house-turned-strip-club and Lake Darpo, where certain birds are going extinct. These eleven closely related portraits show that the real threats have long taken root. Black Creek is a place of poignancy and absurdity, love and loss, loneliness and the brief charges of connection. Its residents will do almost anything to protect what they think is theirs.
Views: 535

The Waiter

In the tradition of modern classics The Dinner and A Gentleman in Moscow comes The Waiter, in which the finely tuned balance of a grand European restaurant (that has seen better days) is irrevocably upset by an unexpected guest.In a centuries-old European restaurant called The Hills, a middle-aged waiter takes pride in the unchangeable aspects of his job: the well-worn uniform, the ragged but solid tablecloths, and the regular diners. Some are there daily, like Graham "Le Gris"—also known as The Pig—and his dignified group of aesthetes; the slightly more free-spirited drinking company around Tom Sellers; and the closest one can get to personal friends of the waiter, Edgar and his young daughter, Anna.In this universe unto itself, there is scarcely any contact between the tables...until a beautiful and well-groomed young woman walks through the door and upsets the delicate balance of the restaurant and all it has come to...
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The Whore of Babylon, A Memoir

Katrina Prado has contributed to The Whore of Babylon, a Memoir as an author. Katrina Prado is the author of several novels and short stories and is currentlly working on her seventh novel, the third in a mystery series. She has had work published in Potpurri, the Chrysalis Reader, The Santa Clara Review, Life, and Woman. Her work has also be selected for air on Public Radio's Valley Writers Read. Her short story Twig Doll won first place in the 2000 Life Circle Lierary Contest.
Views: 51

The Flowers

Sonny Bravo is a tender, unusually smart fifteen-year-old who is living with his vivacious mother in a large city where intense prejudice is not just white against black, but also brown. When Sonny’s mother, Silvia, suddenly marries an Okie building contractor named Cloyd Longpre, they are uprooted to a small apartment building, Los Flores. As Sonny sweeps its sidewalks, he meets his neighbors and becomes ensnared in their lives: Cindy, an eighteen-year-old druggie who is married and bored; Nica, a cloistered Mexican girl who cares for her infant brother but who is never allowed to leave their unit. The other tenants range from Pink, an albino black man who sells old cars in front of the building, to Bud, a muscled-up construction worker who hates blacks and Mexicans, even while he’s married to a Mexican-American woman. Dagoberto Gilb, in arguably his most powerful work yet, has written an inspiring novel about hate, pain, anger, and love that transcends age, race, and...
Views: 48

51 Shades of Maggie, Liverpool Style

Leesa Harker's fabulous Liverpool-based parody of 50 Shades tells of the adventures of White Lightning-swigging Maggie Muff, who meets Mr Big at the Dole Tall, dark and shaggable he may be, but his interests are far from conventional, and when he introduces Maggie to the Red Room of Pain she realises that she may have bitten off more than she can chew.If you're looking for books like 50 Shades of Grey, but want something funnier, filthier and set in the heart of Liverpool, this is the perfect book for you. The inspiration for the sell-out play, starring Dannielle Malone.
Views: 44

Before the End, After the Beginning

Before the End, After the Beginning is a personal and honest collection of ten exquisite stories from Dagoberto Gilb. The pieces come in the wake of a stroke Gilb suffered at his home in Austin, Texas, in 2009, and a majority of the stories were written over many months of recovery. The result is a powerful and triumphant collection that tackles common themes of mortality and identity and describes the American experience in a raw, authentic vernacular unique to Gilb.These ten stories take readers throughout the American West and Southwest, from Los Angeles and Albuquerque to El Paso and Austin. Gilb covers territory familiar to some of his earlier work—a mother and son’s relationship in Southern California in the story ‘Uncle Rock’ or a character looking to shed his mixed up past in ‘The Last Time I Saw Junior’—while dealing with themes of mortality and limitation that have arisen during his own illness. Confronting issues of...
Views: 43

The Accidental Pope

The former US Ambassador to the Vatican and the bestselling author of The French Connection join forces to write an unforgettable, compelling novel about a humble fisherman who is elected as the next Pope.Locked in a stalemate after days of voting, the College of Cardinals struggles through the arduous process of electing a new pope after the death of Pope John Paul II. In an effort to break the impasse at the conclave, Brian Comiskey, Cardinal Primate of All Ireland, in a stunning surprise development, withdraws from the race. Explaining his decision, he offers an anecdote about being among a boat load of clerics who were caught in an unexpected storm, then miraculously rescued by his friend Bill Kelly, a former priest and now a Cape Cod fisherman. The next day at the Sistine Chapel, still undecided about who they should vote for, the Cardinals smile to themselves as they cast what they think are throw-away symbolic votes for Bill Kelly—but no one is...
Views: 35

Beauty

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2009. Beauty-in name and appearance- is a young Bangladeshi woman, on the run from an abusive arranged marriage. In the threatening city streets, she is saved from harm by Mark, the type of white 'hooligan' she's always been taught to fear. Their unconventional friendship is at the heart of this moving novel as Beauty begins a journey of discovery into life outside of her restrictive family, showing the reader how we live in Britain through an innocent's eyes.From BooklistStarred Review On the run from her family in the rough city streets of Wolverhampton, England, for refusing to stay in an arranged marriage with the 45-year-old village mullah back in Bangladesh, Beauty Begum, 19, finds prejudice, kindness, cruelty, work, and love. And duty. Winner of the 2009 Costa First Novel Award, the story uses multiple twists to blend the traditional and the contemporary with aching realism. “Who else is going to marry you?” her older brother yells. “You’re ugly, dark, and dumb.” She finds refuge with a white, rough dog-breeder. He knew some Asians in prison so isn’t put off by her skin, but is he a hooligan? She gets work in a retirement home but is baffled by how kids can dump their parents into such places. Her neighbor—atheist, intellectual Peter—on the run from his smart girlfriend, is hooked on Internet porn, confusing Beauty further about whom to trust. The prejudice portrayed in the novel is rife: against blacks, Pakistanis, Muslims, everyone foreign, all of them seen as “perverts and thieves.” Told in a stream of street patois with constantly switching viewpoints (how she sees him, how he sees her), the book seems at first to be a daunting read. But for those who go with it, the surprise comes with the realization that the changing voices are the story: hilarious, heartbreaking, and honest, always revealing new twists and turns. A compelling read right up to the astonishing end. --Hazel Rochman Review"Captures the raw humanity of inner city life with extraordinary authenticity." Costa Judges 2009 "Brilliantly plays out a comedy of conflicting cultural and class expectations." Financial Times"
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DOWN

"I have tremendous respect for any poet who strives to be even half as great as Sarah Dowling."—CAConradDisorientation and defamiliarization yank fresh feeling from banal sentences. Down takes junk language—with cameos by Frank O'Hara, Frank Ocean, Aaliyah, and the Temptations—and flattens it until we're living in the same environment. How can we carve private spaces from discarded publics?Sarah Dowling is the author of Security Posture and Birds & Bees. Sarah's poetry was included in the anthology I'll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women. She teaches at the University of Washington Bothell and is international editor at Jacket2.
Views: 19