THE INHERITANCE OF HOPE, An excerpt from a short story

Some folks like to warn that money can’t buy happiness, but I figure it’s hope that holds real worth. Twelve days before emigrating from Będzin, Poland, to the hilled landscape of Oregon in 1943, my great-grandpa Alistair made a single, significant purchase. With the last of his savings he bought a ring for his wife, Kazia. It was forged by a goldsmith who claimed he could weave the couple’s aspirations right into the metal, preserving their visions for the future as neatly as life sealed in amber. Sometimes, that’s all you can do with misery such as theirs – manipulate it, melt it down.

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 15:16

THE MIRACLE OF ST ELIZABETH, An excerpt from the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

This being a crucial period of my life, a period of serious decision making, just as I sit there, all of a sudden – bang! Here it comes! Another decision! So I decide to put an end to the tormenting cycle (no more isolation, no more cheese sandwiches, no more insomnia and gossip magazines).

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 12:07

NOT TONIGHT, An excerpt from a work in progress

Tonight, there are no lovers walking down the park alleys. There are no kings in the castles, and the princesses die alone – they have no frogs or peas. Tonight, the inkpots are empty, and the words are uncountable. Tonight, all shouts are muffled by unbearable silence. Tonight, the barefoot do not find shoes, and the anthills are too few, too small, and too far away to save lost wanderers. Tonight, children sob softly, mothers behave unreasonably, and fathers – they remain unknown.

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 11:31

THE INSTRUMENTARIUM MODEL OF THE CITY, An excerpt from a short story

I used to think that I was Leno's main passion, then that I could be Leno's main passion, displacing the City from his heart and mind, and even from the pages he wrote. But that was "before" and it was short-lived. Rather quickly, I realized that it was the exits, these invisible, unattainable points, that inspired his desire. None of them could be found on my body or person. We both realized this early on. But Leno held on to me: he wanted me by his side, nevertheless. I did not spend much time pouring over the letter.

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 11:47

THE ARTIFICIAL ALBATROSS, An excerpt from a short story

The year we became minimalists was the same year we gave up meat. You decided these things were for one another, and so this is what we did. Some years previous, when we had decided to be two women in love, we were incredible disasters. I had sloppily painted the walls a burnt orange and draped silk scarves atop the lamps, rather than replacing their spent bulbs.

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 13:14

RAPUNZEL'S TOWERS, A short story

Every morning, between six and seven thirty, thousands of gray-haired Rapunzels rise, gently toss their blankets aside and make their way to the kitchen. Some make breakfast for their grandchildren. Others leave bread crumbs for the pigeons on the balcony. They put coffee-makers or teapots on the stove. Some even turn on the radio. Inside, there's a slight draft. So they wrap their cardigans more tightly around their bodies, and clasp the cup of coffee or tea with lots of sugar with both hands. They feel chilly, they always do, but what else could they close in order to stop the draft?

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 15:13

THE PLACE, An excerpt from a work in progress

You can enter by the road from the south, the north, the east or even the west, although the west road, unfortunately, is not very good. Actually, even then it was quite bad and annoying to drive on, with lots of potholes; there would often be fallen trees. There is no reason to think that the road is better now. You cannot be sure what to expect, once you manage to get into the city. Even back then, the buildings had almost entirely lost their magnificence and charm, which was reminiscent of a decent past, and suggested a relatively prosperous future.

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 13:38


To my father


She has no idea if the time she has left is enough. But the desire is stronger than common sense and she starts piling up pillows to hem in the corner of the huge bed where she can sink fully into her thoughts and find peace at last. In the house time has its own clock, slow and different. She hopes nobody is going to look for her.

She falls asleep before she knows it, carried away by shouts and voices distant as the world outside this room. Everything starts from the beginning like the breaking day.

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 14:25

DELICATE THUGS, An excerpt from a new novel, entitled Gently, Lovingly, Farmingly

Billy was an old-school hustler. His complexion revealed a few things – a bachelor still living with his 75-year-old mother who provided for him, permanently devoid of work habits, managing the local soccer team on and off in exchange for a puny salary granted by the village mayor as compensation for his active involvement during elections i.e.

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 15:41

THE INFECTION OF BEING, an excerpt from a novel

Five years of getting up at seven. Suits, dress shirts, blazers and high heels. Hair up in a bun, nails painted nude. Less than ten years ago, I used to dream of it, hoped to build a career some day, saw myself precisely like this – in a large company, with a flashy office, in a prestigious and important position… And the weird thing is, I still like my job. Well, kind of. But more often than not I hate it.

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 16:09



One evening, two weeks before loan sharks would chase him away into the unknowable depths of Indonesia, Frankie's father sat and sighed at the dinner table. It was the round marble table with a Lazy Susan, stained with sesame and chili oil-spills.

"What's wrong?" Frankie asked, doubled over, hands above his knees. He was breathless and sweaty from running up and down the alleyway, chasing the fat brown dog with the lolling tongue.

Frankie's father sat frowning at his left palm.

Sat, 08/08/2015 - 07:57

THE COMPUTER PROGRAMMER, An excerpt from a novel

The number of clients I had was growing, and so were my apprehensions about how I was going to manage.

"Hello," the Computer Programmer said and took off his jacket, which looked like an oversized piece of kids' clothing. His red boxers were peeking out over the belt of his jeans. "I've come to you with a specific question."

I felt a sudden urge to explain what a psychotherapist's job was, and that he was neither a fortune-teller nor a TV game show contestant, which is why he couldn't be expected to give answers that were either right or wrong.

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 11:57

RISE UP SINGING, An excerpt from a novel

You do get hot summers in Bolton and we had one that year, for weeks on end as I remember it, although it may just have been a fortnight or so. This was a Friday so we had double English that afternoon with Mr Howard. Lisa and Claire had both had a full tab, but Janey and I had just taken half each.

"Who or what do you think is causing the friction here between Jane and Elizabeth?" asked Mr Howard. His hair was aglow and the walls pulsed gently.

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 12:29

LITTLE ESCAPES, A short story

He is a completely normal guy. Every week, he reads his horoscope, but it's usually wrong. Most times it says that no major catastrophes, long journeys, love affairs or problems at work await him. In many respects he is completely normal. No nightmares plague him, his wife doesn't cheat on him, his kids are pretty good.

But as a matter of fact, magnetic storms and solar flares sometimes affect him.

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 11:25

THE KNIFE, An excerpt from the novel You Belong Here

Mum says I have the memory of an elephant. That Jay got the brains, Emily, the beauty, and me, I never forget.

I remember sixth grade: Blair Cavaney, year five toff kicking Johnny in the nuts, not once, but twice because he looked 'weird.' Walker and me, suspended for a week because we pushed him up against the dental shed. Told him that you never kick anyone in the nuts. That if he did it again, we'd kick his head in.

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 13:54

RAT, A short story

Jacques loved his home town. And why wouldn't he – Paris was the most beautiful city in the world. Everybody loved Paris, people came in throngs. Tourists prowled every nook and cranny. It had long ago become impossible to take a stroll around the Latin Quarter, by the Eiffel Tower, or down the small, picturesque streets of Le Marais. Not to mention Montmartre or the Champs-Élysées.

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:57