Quick Reads

The Girl Waits

9781771681339Jennifer Haupt’s debut novel is getting a lot of buzz. From being named by Bustle as a debut novel not to miss in 2018 to a whole lot of love from booksellers, we couldn’t be more proud to release this amazing book.

What follows is the first few chapters of prologue from the novel, originally published over at Flash Fiction Online. You can read the full prologue by heading over there and giving them some visit-love.

 


The Girl Waits

April 14, 1994, Mubaro, Rwanda

The girl waits. There are only the silver threads of a web swooping precariously over the top left corner of a splintered window frame. There are no rays of warm light seeping through mottled glass. There is no slight breeze, no swaying jacaranda branch heavy with purple blossoms her mother sometimes plucked before church and pinned to the brim of her straw hat. These simple luxuries disappeared hours, perhaps days, ago.

She is not sure how long she’s been curled up in the darkness, under the frame of a stepladder tented with a blue tarp. Long enough so that there is only the faintest odor of paint, turpentine, urine, and a piney cleanser. Long enough that her empty stomach no longer gurgles, and the certainty of a machete blade slitting her neck no longer brings up the sour taste of fear. For as long as she can remember, her family has lived with the threat of death—maybe today, maybe tomorrow—as if each day is a gift, so easily snatched away. It occurs to her that fear is what has given the Hutus their power all of these years. The boys who sometimes shove her into the dirt while walking to school and steal her lunch. The men who come to take her father’s crops or burn the fields if he refuses. It is some small comfort that they no longer have power over her.

 

Finish reading…

Do It Anyway

This post, by one of our authors, Iain S. Thomas, follows up so nicely to my previous post about inspiration for writers. It’s just lovely and I am honoured to share it with you.

Poetry by Gautam Sen

We are the home of a bounty of wonderfully talented writers – and poets. Gautam Sen is our only author from India and has penned the fantastical and fun family story – The Fantabulous Fens, a moving and moral story for all ages.

We’re proud to post two of Mr. Sen’s poems which recently appeared in an international Poetry Magazine. We’re proud to be the publisher of his book and to offer these beautiful poems to you.

Adventure

This, too, is adventurous —
Not scaling Kanchenjunga
Or Mount Everest,
Not crossing the Atlantic
Solo in a boat,
Not country-hopping
In a gas balloon,
Not exploring
The jungles of Africa,
Not trekking across the sandy Sahara;
But brushing my teeth,
Yes brushing my teeth
As if it were,
When it’s time to brush my teeth,
The most important task
In the whole wide world,
Brushing them alertly,
With full attention,
Applying myself to the strokes of the brush
In front of my mouth
And behind,
A its hidden corners
And up and down,
Not missing out on the circular motions
That dentists recommend,
And scrupulously keeping at bay
The sad or happy thoughts,
The obsessions,
The ecstasies,
The awesome worries and perplexities,
That threaten to wildly rush in
And take possession —
This giving the so-called minor acts their due,
This true democracy of the spirit,
This pushing out the intruder
Seeking mental entry,
Grappling with it,
Absorbing its blows,
This struggle no one notices
Or appreciates,
This quiet overcoming,
This victory of order over chaos
That nowhere makes headlines,
That you cannot talk about with x or y or z
And get yourself understood —
This, too, is heroism of a kind,
Heroism of a different brand;
This is everyday romance,
No less adventurous,
No less glorious
Than, more sensationally,
Fighting bulls in Spain
Or floating, televised,
In outer space.
 

Trauma

How is it, but how is it
That though the words are much the same
In the Book of Life,
Some meanings suddenly
Have changed?
All tears were water
Till the other day.
And ran in rivulets;
Today my own are dry —
They do not run,
They splinter
into broken sighs!
And rocks …
Yes rocks were solid
Dependable things
That wouldn’t budge an inch
When it came to the crunch …
I’ve seen them crumble into dust
At the first touch
Of an avalanche,
And like a flock of perching birds
Upset by gunshot,
Disperse like panic
In the wind.
Though the words are much the same
In the Book of Life,
There are those
That are differently disposed
From how they were
Before:
Supposedly quiet words explode
And others, considered loud,
Retire into corners
And absently doze.