Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Daniel Pereira
October 1st, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Daniel Pereira

Our grey Swiss building has ceiling moldings in the shape of flowers. These were white once. Before we immigrants took over most of its floors. The only natives who remain are very old. They have no children or pensions large enough to help them flee our foreign invasion. Like Madame Belet, who lives one floor down from us and gives me old, melted chocolates when I run errands for her. 

reviewed by James Dickson
September 29th, 2014 | 6:00am

Number two on Kurt Vonnegut’s famous eight-item to-do list for fiction writers is: Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.” But not too much, one might add. Smith Henderson strikes the balance between likeable and unlikeable admirably in the protagonist of his debut novel Fourth of July Creek. Set in rural Montana, the novel follows Pete Snow, a social worker who rescues children from abusive and dysfunctional families. We like Pete. He gets kids out of dangerous houses with drug-dealing parents, as seen in the novel’s opening scene in which Pete responds to a domestic dispute between one of his clients, teenage Cecil, and his speed-addicted motherCecil’s on the roof of the house, Mom’s shooting at him with a pellet gun.

Photo by Creative Commons user Kay.L.
September 26th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by Creative Commons user Kay.L.

Please enjoy these new poems by five new contributors to The Common.

 

Amy Lawless

            --The Frowning Beast


Photo by author
September 24th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by author

We were staying on the Upper West Side, 15th floor, view of the Hudson. Two hawks nested on the fire escape outside our bedroom window, their baby hawk’s head popping out of its shell. The male was wary. Very. One day, X ray vision on, he stormed the window from afar, a bolt from the blue looming larger, nearer, yeeks! Shot skywards just shy of crashing into the window.

Photo by author
September 22nd, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by author

The ending place is empty—nearly. I am writing this in the beginning place because it seems not quite right to start in a place that is ending.

On the phone, completing the last of the cleaning, he describes to me the ending place. He is there and I am here. He describes the span of those walls (now spackled) in which we made our lives these past eight years. Walls from which we hung postcards and pictures, pieces of metal and lace, the mirrored shadowbox, the plaster cherub, all the instruments. There, where the doors were painted a sloppy garish teal long before our arrival, where the ‘beautiful hardwood floors’ finally gave up, splintered into thick spears.