In the opening of Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, Monica Wesolowska gives birth to her first child, a healthy-seeming boy who is taken from her arms for "observation" when he won't stop crying. Within days, Monica and her husband have been given the grimmest of prognoses for Silvan, and they must make a choice about his life. The story that follows is not a story of typical maternal heroism. There is no medical miracle here. Instead, we find the strangest of hopes.
Harold may be dying but he's still got a sense of humor. That's more than can be said for his wife, who's trying to whisk him away from the grimness of the hospital for one last holiday bash.
First published in Best New American Voices 2000, The View remains urgent and timely. The story, set during a severe California drought, spans a single romantic night as a young idealist and her older date head into the Berkeley hills. Along the way, they argue about the rights of drought-starved mountain lions. Should these predators be allowed to hunt in city streets? The argument quickly takes on sinister undertones. Who is hunting whom?
In the throes of young motherhood, a woman receives an unexpected call. Her ex-boyfriend, the poet, needs to see her. Blending magical and gritty realism in a style reminiscent of Grace Paley, Monica Wesolowska mines the mysterious caverns of creativity as the poet refuses to behave.
When a neighbor woman knocks one evening on a lonely young man's door, he thinks their romance is meant to be. After all, hadn't the bartender just told him he needed to "have faith?" Short and taut as a sad song, Zamboni Blues pulls us into its music and holds us to the bittersweet end.
At the insistence of the sweet young couple next door, Hubert and his wife travel to the Jersey shore to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary at a seaside restaurant there. But beneath their cozy, crotchety love lie secrets whose shadows no candlelit dinner can dispel.
"Beautiful, hard truths in a pearl of a story"
Paris. 1968. A young woman has an affair. The one-night stand may be a failure, but the buttery croissant she eats on a snowy morning-after is not. Even after she marries and has children, time won't stop polishing that simple memory, until it glows in unexpected ways.
Like an Edith Wharton novel writ-tiny, Our Bed, Our Life carries us into the privacy of the bedroom to witness a young couple's disagreement. At issue is whether or not it's safe - now that they live together - to leave their front door unlocked at night. Is the woman paranoid or the man cavalier, and will they survive their first argument?
"Love the tension and surprise!"