The Seers’ Table April 2021
Kate Maruyama, Member of the Diverse Works Inclusion Community
Linda Addison recommends:
Jacqueline Dyre is the editor and publisher of Novel Noctule. You can find them in the sunshine state, drinking poorly-made coffee and consuming psychological horror in lieu of meals. They are one of the recipients of the 2020 HWA Diversity Grants.
Novel Noctule is an online, monthly independent fiction magazine dedicated to intellectual and new weird horror; they use horror to shed light on the human condition. Issues contain two or three original stories, poetry, artwork, creator spotlights, and related works of terror. Their stories are often categorized in the new weird genre. They publish on the 28th of each month and are currently accepting submissions on a rolling basis!
Recommended Reading: Novel Noctule February 2021 issue, from “Radio Silence” by James Owens:
When Neil packed Thea and Sharon into Barney’s van and headed out of the city, his only impulse had been to come here, the cabin in the mountains (also Barney’s) where Neil had visited for a hunting weekend a couple of years ago. Distance would be a buffer, he thought. Now he wonders if they should have kept running—whether the contagion, whatever it is, might trail them into the high country, along the winding gravel road and across the high bridges. But it might be too late to abandon their hideout. What would they find waiting for them out on the highways?
Follow them on Twitter @novelnoctule. Find out more at https://www.novelnoctule.com/.
Janet Joyce Holden recommends:
Rivers Solomon, a cyborg wannabe and a refugee of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, writes about life in the margins, where they’re much at home.
Their work has appeared in or is forthcoming from the New York Times, Guernica Magazine, Black Warrior Review, The Rumpus, Emrys Journal, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. In addition to winning a Firecracker Award and being named a best book of the year by the Guardian, NPR, Chicago Public Library, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, their debut novel, An Unkindness of Ghosts, was selected as a Stonewall Honor Book and was nominated for a Lambda, Locus, and Hurston/Wright Award.
Solomon graduated from Stanford University with a BA and the Michener Center for Writers with an MFA, but are currently based in Cambridge, England. Solomon has been shortlisted for the John C. Campbell Award for New Writers and is at work on a second novel.
Their latest novel, Sorrowland is a triumphant, genre-bending breakout novel from one of the boldest new voices in contemporary fiction.
Vern—seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised—flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.
But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.
To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future—outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.
Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.
You can follow them on Twitter @cyborgyndroid, or learn more about them here: https://www.riverssolomon.com/.
Kate Maruyama Recommends:
Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multilingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. The Tenth Girl is her debut book. She currently resides in New York City. The Tenth Girl was published in 2019 by MacMillan/Imprint, and her second novel, White Fox, is out now from Imprint.
About White Fox: After their world-famous mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Manon and Thaïs left their remote Mediterranean home—sent away by their pharma-tech tycoon father. Opposites in every way, the sisters drifted apart in their grief. Yet their mother’s unfinished story still haunts them both, and they can’t put to rest the possibility that she is still alive.
Lured home a decade later, Manon and Thaïs discover their mother’s legendary last work, long thought lost: White Fox, a screenplay filled with enigmatic metaphors. The clues in this dark fairytale draw them deep into society’s surreal underbelly, into the twisted secrets hidden by their glittering family, to reveal the truth about their mother—and themselves.
CLIP FROM NOT ANOTHER GIRL OF ICE (1978)
Mireille Foix, age sixteen, winner of the Best Actress Award at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival
The scene opens in a midnight wood, dense and tangled, its rotting breath palpable. The locals call it Delirium Forest, and it’s famous for devouring people whole, for reshaping the most solid of realities. A figure is visible inside, the moss-choked air around it glowing like an aura. The figure seems to float above the forest’s gnarled roots, impervious to its thorns, its nettles, its spines and raking branches. As the figure moves deeper inside, its luminescence fades, and a deep, guttural buzzing builds.
At the fringe of the forest, a scummy parking lot, tongued by sagging bags of trash. And there, beside them: a broken form, lying in a pool of his own blood, thick as ink. A black cat edges around the mess, sniffing.
You can follow her on Instagram @Sarafaring, or learn more about her at her Web site: https://www.sarafaring.com/.
Charlie Vázquez (Carlos Luis Vázquez) is a self-identified queer American artist, writer, and musician of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent and a New York Foundation For The Arts and NEA Fellow for poetry. He is the author of the novels Buzz and Israel (Fireking, 2005) and Contraband (Rebel Satori, 2010) as well as Fantasmas: Puerto Rican Tales of the Dead (CV Publishing, 2020), a short story collection inspired by family folklore.
His writing also appears in the graphic novel collection Ricanstruction (Somos Arte, 2018), which donates proceeds to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. Vázquez’s work was also included in Crashing Cathedrals (ITNA, 2019), an anthology featuring essays written by authors on their favorite Edmund White books.
He’s the former New York City coordinator for Puerto Rico’s Festival de la Palabra and was awarded a Commendation from the City of New York in 2014 for his contributions to Latino literary heritage. Currently, he’s developing a portfolio of feature-length screenplays, treatments, and film shorts adapted from his fiction. He lives in The Bronx.
Excerpt: Fantasmas: Puerto Rican Tales of the Dead, from “Tiempo Muerto”
“See you at five then,” I said, squeezing his shoulder.
“A little while more.”
“We must rest, remember.”
“There’s something I have to tell you.”
We stood near the fence separating our properties, on his side where no one could see us. Where we would meet in a few hours to walk our mules to market as we did every Saturday morning. His gaze fiery in the shadowy darkness, red and piercing. The mango tree above hissed when the wind passed through its leaves, the fruit it had borne dry and pitiful. As diseased as the sugarcane he burned in vain. Dead as Miguelito and Rosita.
“I heard her again last night,” Guillermo said.
“Don’t do this to yourself, Sanchez.”
“She keeps calling me from the yard.” He shivered in the humid night, his shirt and pants filthy with the torments of grief, of forgetting to bathe and change his clothes. Tears hadn’t fallen from the sting of rum as I had thought. “She says, ‘Daddy get me out of here,’” Guillermo said, weeping. “I pick up the shovel and start digging but I can’t—”
You can follow Charlie on Twitter @charlievazquez, or learn more about him here: https://www.charlievazquez.com/.