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Winter Second Wife, stories by Rita Ciresi
Published in partnership with The Florida Review’s Jeanne Leiby Prize. The “second wife” in this collection of loosely linked vignettes is composed of the unspoken trauma and unfulfilled desire of a woman estranged from herself. She lusts after the bag boy at the grocery store, the man in her hot yoga class, her physical therapist. Despite her self-imposed isolation from coworkers and family, the reader is offered a voyeuristic peek into her private thoughts, which the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning Rita Ciresi renders with cutting precision.
Spring Clean Time: The True Story of Ronald Reagan Middleton, a novel by Ben Gwin Framed as the drug-addled memoir of addict-turned-reality TV star Ronald Reagan Middleton (annotated & published by floundering doctoral candidate Harold Swanger), Clean Time is a dark post-modern satire of academia, celebrity worship, and recovery memoirs set in a near-future America ravaged by addiction. Chased from North Carolina to North Jersey and back again by a salacious TV producer, a relapsing counselor, and a serial killer who targets addicts, Ronald Reagan tries to keep it together as he continues to hit new bottoms.
Summer Worm Fiddling Nocturne in the Key of a Broken Heart, stories by Kimberly Lojewski
In this wildly imaginative debut collection, whimsical fairy tales of princesses and farm girls turn dark, and dark tales of mistreated sideshow freaks turn whimsical. An itinerant marionette falls prey to a lusty mesmerist. An alcoholic camp counselor is haunted by her dead best friend. A juvenile delinquent languishes in a boot camp run by authoritarian grandmas. Be they human monsters or reluctant moth-girls, the outcasts that populate these eleven compelling stories all long for escape, community, acceptance, and self-discovery.
Fall Space Heart, a memoir by Linda Buckmaster
A memoir of growing up on the Space Coast in the 1960s with a heart condition and an alcoholic father.
Opening lines: “On July 24, 1950, Bumper V-2 blasts off a tiny hand-poured cement pad in the middle of the palmettos to become the first rocket launched from Cape Canaveral. As my mother waits out the sticky final months of her pregnancy with me two hundred miles down the coast in Miami, neither she nor my father realize this event will have anything to do with us…”