"There are American flags on school windows, on cars, on porch swings; it is the year I bring Bob Dylan home for Thanksgiving."
Jim Shepard, acclaimed author and guest editor of Recommended Reading vol. 1 no. 3, says:
"I haven’t been as won over by a story as completely as I was by Marie-Helene Bertino’s 'North of' in years. ... What happens when someone in the family has to be worked around, like an unexploded bomb? How do we justify what happiness we have found, in the face of the intractability of someone else’s misery? Well, don’t look at me, when it comes to answers. But if you’d like to see how beautifully those kinds of questions can be articulated—or staged—check out this story."
Marie-Helene Bertino's collection of short stories Safe as Houses received the 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Award, judged by Jim Shepard, and will be published October 1, 2012. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Pushcart Prize Anthology XXXIII, North American Review, Mississippi Review, Inkwell, The Indiana Review, American Short Fiction, Five Chapters, West Branch, and the Mississippi Review's 30 (an anthology of 30 years of publishing). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times, receiving the award in 2007 and a Special Mention in 2011. She hails from Philadelphia and lives in Brooklyn, where for six years she was the Associate Editor of One Story. She has taught for The Gotham Writer's Workshop and One Story's Emerging Writer's Workshop and was an Emerging Writer Fellow at NYC's Center for Fiction. If you like her, click here. If you like her like her, buy her a trumpet or give her a drum.
About Recommended Reading:
Great authors inspire us. But what about the stories that inspire them? Recommended Reading, the latest project from Electric Literature, publishes one story every week, each chosen by a great author or editor. In this age of distraction, we uncover writing that's worth slowing down and spending some time with. And in doing so, we help give great writers, literary magazines, and independent presses the recognition (and readership) they deserve.
About this week's guest editor:
Jim Shepard is the author of six novels, including most recently Project X, and four story collections, including most recently Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize, and You Think That’s Bad, released in 2011. His stories have been included in the Best American, PEN/O.Henry, and Pushcart Prize anthologies. He teaches at Williams College.