I’m delighted to have a short story of mine, “Doctor Sveta,” in the current issue of Alaska Quarterly Review. Here’s the opening,
Doctor Sveta was twenty six years old when the Navy commissariat summoned her to Leningrad and put her on a cargo ship among a motley crew of agronomists, agricultural engineers, livestock breeders, and tractor drivers, none of whom knew where the ship was headed or how long the journey might take. Her fellow passengers looked as confused at finding themselves confined to a seafaring vehicle as Doctor Sveta felt. No tractors accompanied them; not a cow, not even a single chicken. The agronomists and tractor drivers were healthy young men and a few women, two of them visibly pregnant. Doctor Sveta had been trained as a surgeon in Leningrad; she assumed it was in this capacity she’d been recalled from her post at a hospital in Minsk, Belarus. Besides the ship’s medic, there were no doctors aboard and not even a basic medical facility. Doctor Sveta worried she’d have to embrace a crash course in obstetrics.
Half a century later, as she tells me this story, Doctor Sveta . . .
This is a print magazine. To read the story, please buy the issue.
Here’s an experimental short, recently published in a brand new magazine. Welcome, New Reader Review! Download the copy of the magazine with my story here. (My story begins on page 204).
Martian Federation’s General Consulate in San Francisco: FAQ for Citizens
I. General Questions.
1.1. What is a consular district? I currently reside in Utah. May I seek assistance from the consulate in San Francisco?
1.2. Why am I unable to reach the consulate by phone?
II. Passport of the Martian Federation.
2.1. Must I apply for my passport in person? May I apply for my Martian passport by
2.2. How long does it take to receive my Martian passport?
2.3. What are the advantages of carrying a biometric passport?
2.4. I have bad handwriting. May I apply for my Martian passport electronically?
2.8. My name has been poorly translated to Martian. What do I do?
2.6. I don’t have a Martian passport. May I enter Mars with my American passport?
2.7. I was born on Mars but have lived in Utah my entire life. I don’t know the Martianlanguage. May I fill out the application for my Martian passport in English?
IV. Registration of Legal Documents.
4.1. Will the consulate register a marriage between an American and a Martian?
4.4. My groom has a very demanding job and is very busy. We are unable to come in
person to the consulate in San Francisco to register our marriage. What do we do?
To continue reading, download the issue.
I recommend Gunnhild Øyehaug’s short story collection Knots, out from FSG this summer.
It felt foreordained to open this short story collection by the Norwegian writer Gunnhild Øyehaug and find IKEA on the first page, as in: “…park the car outside IKEA.” IKEA, now based in the Netherlands, originated in Sweden, but to many foreigners, it personifies Scandinavia—pleasant and unthreatening. “Blah, how boring,” was my first thought. Then, trying to stave off disappointment at being welcomed by the all-too-familiar global brand, I told myself, “Well, I guess IKEA did start somewhere nearby. Perhaps, Scandinavians have a particular attachment to clean lines.” (Nervous laughter.) I know that stereotyping is a form of blindness; in practice, my desire for novelty trips me up and leads to overly broad generalizations. Like a tourist, I had to remind myself to check my expectations at the airport.
Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Norway begins, indeed, with the comfortably familiar. . . .
Read the rest of my review on The Common.
Catherine McNamara is a uniquely gifted writer, able to translate her amazing travel and life experiences into thought-provoking fiction. I’ve read some of Catherine’s work, and I’m delighted to welcome her upcoming book, The Cartography of Others. It’s being crowdfunded by a UK-based press, Unbound. This promises to be a super cool campaign with some awesome pledges — how about an opera date in Verona?
The Cartography of Others is a collection of twenty stories that take place from fumy Accra to the Italian Dolomites, from suburban Sydney to high-rise Hong Kong. Lives are mapped, unpicked, crafted, overturned. Each story inhabits a location that becomes as vital as the characters themselves, men and women who are often far from home, immersed in unfamiliar cultures, estranged from those they hold dear. Love is panicked, worn, tested.
There’s a cool book video, too.
Source: Clock | Tin House
My grandmother had a mechanical wall clock powered by weights. To wind it, she pulled down one of the weights, and for the next twelve hours, the clock ticked off the lengths of the chain as the counterbalance forced it back up. . . .
Read this story on Tin House’s Open Bar flash Fridays blog.
Quick shout out, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is all that. This week, this book was awarded John Leonard Prize for the first novel by the National Book Critics Circle.
Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun is also all that. Her protagonist just keeps on going; she’s such an interesting, complex character.