author: Aimee Bender
where: California Zephyr Train
note: From the last issue of Tin House
a line: “Buy more, said the lady. Rich lady. Come back to Yum-Yum. Eat yum-yum. Clog your arteries. Enjoy life.”
theme(s): Miscarriage, class, wealth, blame
story: “Kiss Me Someone”
author: Karen Shepard
note: The title story.
a line: “Of all her exes, and the number is legion, this one was the most extreme in all regards.”
theme(s): Fidelity, compassion, aimlessness, marriage
story: “House of Women”
author: Susan Minot
where: the gold sofa
note: This story was brilliant not only for its evocative descriptions of coastal nature, but also because of its blatant realism about how women talking together can manage to “resurrect” our ex-boyfriends, lovers, and husbands.
a line: “By the time the thunder had grown faint the lawn was crowded with them, scores of them, patiently gathered in front of our house.”
theme(s): Women, friendship, recovery, memory, men and women, relationships
story: “Mercedes Kane”
author: Elizabeth McCracken
note: Always on the search for more stories about mothers and daughters.
a line: “She was sure she would’ve been great in her twenties, thirties, forever, if she had just been encouraged to greatness early on.”
theme(s): Mothers and daughters, genius, child prodigy, parenthood
author: Anne de Marcken
note: This is the 2018 winning short story of Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest.
a line: “The man sitting next to me glances at my ring and says nothing for twenty-two hours. The ring fools me too, and I enjoy a feeling of privileged contentment. One who belongs to another is more than one.’”
theme(s): Mothers and daughters, Travel, Identity