The dogs were the first to greet us. Two came trotting into the parking lot of the Masseria. A farm manor on a mountaintop, the Masseria was built into the cliff of tufa, the sandstone of the mountains that ring the Valley of the Jato. Like one of Michelangelo’s Captives struggling to be free of marble encasement, the house—with all its many additions—seemed caught in the act of struggling to free itself of the mountain.
Maura Candela is one of my favorite writers, as well one of the best storytellers I’ve ever met—two talents that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Her debut fiction, “The Boys’ Club” was featured in the first issue of The Common. Maura has also recently finished a novel called The Love Dogs, which is set in contemporary New York and deals, in part, with the long-term effects of 9/11 on rescue workers and their families.
That Irresistible Idea: An Interview with Maura Candela
It was August when a young balding man and his fat mother appeared behind the counter of the corner deli. No grand opening. The previous owner, Herman, had cleared out one night. Gambling debts, neighbors said. Herman’s Deli had always been a beat-up place on the corner, and the new owners didn’t seem very ambitious either. The pushpins that held Herman’s rick-rack borders were still on the shelves—half of which were bare and unlined, exposing warped wood. The glass case that held the cold cuts was smudged even on that first day.