By Ted Gilley

Winner of the Prairie Schooner e-book Prize in Fiction, this bold selection of 9 tales introduces readers to an edgy imaginative and prescient and a global within which certainties are verified and located short of. A Cambodian refugee negotiates the icy waters of yankee social and sexual lifestyles. a tender couple seeks “peak reports” to flee grief, simply to find that they’ve introduced it in addition to them. A teenage woman, not able to stand the approaching finish of her grandfather’s lifestyles, hazards her personal existence in an impulsive act. A man’s fragile carry on fact turns into the most important to his discovering, albeit via a terrifying labyrinth, his heart’s hope. The characters in Bliss and different brief tales needs to locate their solution to a fact that, even though lower than ideal, is one they could dwell with. discovering bliss, it kind of feels, is as a lot approximately discomfort as approximately excitement, and in Ted Gilley’s writing the invention is often beautiful. (20100901)

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Sample text

And just sit there, think about 50 White things, make phone calls? ” There was no one left in the parking lot. He was the last. “No, they don’t,” he said. ” “I’m the last one,” he said. ” • The houses in the neighborhood beyond the shadow of the ballpark were dingy, sun-bleached with age, and small. Sheila knocked at the door of the first house she came to, waited, then jogged to the next one, then the next. It’s California, no one’s home. At the fourth house a woman peered at Sheila through a small pane of yellowtinted glass and withdrew.

The twins laughed. • At the end of the day, Dad would announce he was knocking off, then he’d stroll across the room to the bar, build a drink, and climb onto a barstool. But the little world impinged on this new space just as it had long since crept into the upstairs rooms. The back bar was lined with houses, sheds and poles, radio towers, groves of the aforementioned spruce forest, and odd bits of paraphernalia, the stuff you couldn’t buy out of a catalog and for which we were known: a bucket so small its contents wouldn’t fill a thimble, tin-shiny, with a printed paper label and an eyelash-fine brush frozen in its drop of red enamel; a half-rusted tricycle with wedding ring–sized whitewall tires; Michele’s silkscreened or painted signs and banners and billboards, their perfection skillfully marred with tea, plaster dust, and spit; the Chief ’s houses, so perfect—so much better, apparently, than the real thing—that they brought tears to clients’ eyes; Mother’s hand and eye over and under all, shaping, defining, foundational; my wiring, lighting, plumbing—my doing whatever needed doing—and the girls’ trees, shrubs, grasses, gardens.

Just for fun. Of course, we don’t have a shop. ” He glanced around the box-like room. Walls and ceiling smooth as sheets of paper, rectilinear windows, their sills bland as balsa wood, the glass flawless, spotless. The carpet beneath our feet soft as felt you’d slash with a razor just to see it fall away from the blade. I smoothed the drawing open, grabbed books, dealt them to the corners to hold the paper flat. Mother came in, Eve at her elbow. They were seldom apart. “Oh, dear,” Mother said. ” But she, too, touched the drawing.

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