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short fiction short fiction

JO-ANN BEKKER Riptide

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The narrator of Jo-Ann Bekker's "Riptide" insists we can believe her. 'Believe me when I tell you,' she says, many times. The story asks us whether we can trust this tale of infidelity, and whether even the woman telling us the story is certain of anything beyond the strong pull of desire.

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PATRICIA BAKER Raking the Lizards

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There is a woman raking lizards down from a tree. There is a family to care for. There are errands to run. Our narrator wages war against the lizards who return each day, undefeated, but she fights other things, too, in a much more complicated battle.

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AINE GREANEY The Man on the Train

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A train makes the perfect setting for this story about a woman in limbo--between jobs, between countries and cultures, between homes. Aine Greaney's "The Man on the Train" turns a conversation with a stranger into a study of belonging, as Lorna, Irish and recently arrived from her home in England, travels into Boston from her sister's suburban home.

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CHARLIE WATTS Five Wishes

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"Five Wishes" unfolds in as many episodes, each one telling a linked variation on a tale of a boy, his mother and father, a stream, a shovel, and a piece of purple quartz. Taken together, these episodes are like facets on a stone, revealing new insights on this little family while at the same time allowing us to see the heart of the story.

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JAMES ENGLISH The Rose Tradition

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In this subtle and tense story, James English sets us down among the complicated relationships within a family and a neighborhood and lets us watch a betrayal unfold. It's a variation of the tale of a stranger coming to town--only the stranger is already there, and the town is someone's family.

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DANIEL FOLEY HIGGINS Some Plastic City Beyond

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The accidental meeting of former lovers shapes Daniel Higgins' "Some Plastic City Beyond." Told mostly through dialogue, the story offers us the careful cadences of two people negotiating old wounds and new discoveries.

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theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

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