'Lamu' by Noel O'Regan

As Aisling drives, Noah struggles to match the abandoned streets that now stream past his window with the city he has experienced the past few days – gone is the feeble crawl of traffic, the strangling smell of diesel, the stutter through roundabouts where knuckles harried closed car windows, and hands offered roasted corn on a stick, fresh mangoes, pineapple, and, one time, a kitten.
Photo by Miville Tremblay, via Flickr.

Photo by Miville Tremblay, via Flickr.

The August 2017 Long Story, Short offering, 'Lamu', is by Irish writer and Sean Dunne Young Writer winner Noel O'Regan. Join hopeful but uncertain Noah on a road trip with a former flame through Kenya, as they skirt the boundaries of reconnection and dissolution. READ 'LAMU'.

The Frieze of Life by M.S. Pallister

Seven in the morning, I came down to the reception with a duvet wrapped over my pyjamas. The heating in my room had stopped working, again.

'What's the nature of your complaint?' asked the receptionist.

'You're joking, right? I was down here three times yesterday.'

She stared at me, unflinching.

'The nature of my complaint is that my fingers are too bloody numb to type a text to my ex-girlfriend.'

A story of gentle humour and humanity to cool you off in the July heat! M.S. Pallister brings her readers to wintry Oslo in 'The Frieze of Life', where a lovelorn man wanders the Munch museum, dines with strangers in hotels, and spends long afternoons in coffee shops waiting for his last love to come back into his life. READ 'THE FRIEZE OF LIFE'.

Salisbury Beach by Sean Conway

Our father, Charles Hartley II, hanged himself in the attic in the spring of 1977. I was five years old. My brother Kelly was eleven. May 25th: the same day that Star Wars opened, though I didn’t make that connection until later.

'Salisbury Beach' is the May 2017 offering from Long Story, Short Journal, by author Sean Conway. Visit a seaside town on the decline, where a young boy's life is spinning wildly on carnival's tilt-a-whirl, from his first tastes of both love and bereavement. READ 'SALISBURY BEACH.'

The Brothers Kaplan by J.A. Bernstein

To the casual observer, the interior of the Pittsfield Building, in the Jewelers Row District of downtown Chicago, resembles the setting for some seedy film noir. The Gothic-style, marble-faced atrium, replete with burnished brass mail chutes and antiquated shops – mostly other obsolete jewelers – struck Sid Kaplan as a cell, one in which he had been confined for the last thirty-six years of his life, ever since he agreed, however hastily, to continue the family trade.

Long Story, Short's April 2017 edition is by Hackney Prize and Knut House Prize winning writer J.A. Bernstein. 'The Brothers Kaplan' brings readers into the confidence of two men whose private lives are hidden from each other, their estrangement exacerbated by one's acceptance, and the other's rejection, of family legacy. READ 'THE BROTHERS KAPLAN'.

'Entrusted' by Fiona Whyte

Something had caught hold of her at the grave, had reached inside her and awoken a tremendous urge to go home once more. Now nothing would do to set it aright other than to head out at once for Ballinlough before it was too late. Mary Frances accompanied her, muttering all the while that Annie wouldn’t appreciate unexpected visitors.

The March 2017 edition of Long Story, Short Journal is 'Entrusted' by Irish writer Fiona Whyte. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, we have a tale of two countries -- of the Irish who travelled to America for work, adventure or escape -- and the inevitable impact such a distance would have on a family. READ 'ENTRUSTED' BY FIONA WHYTE.

Makeup Tips for the Mature Woman by Rhoda Greaves

Jude removes the filmy plastic and hanger. She holds the new dress against her bare skin and kicks a leg out in front of her. Positions the dress against it to get a feel of how it might hang. It doesn’t work like she expects it to. The arc of her dimpled thigh is exposed: raw sausage.

February 2017 brings us Rhoda Greaves's unique short story, 'Makeup Tips for the Mature Woman'. Against a backdrop of editorial advice for aging gracefully, this story's heroine grapples with grief, aging and identity with human awkwardness and vulnerable dignity, leading her to an unpredictable and transcendent encounter with youth. READ 'MAKEUP TIPS FOR THE MATURE WOMAN'.

Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie

The night our grandfather died was a night without stars, the snow falling in endless repeat, first veiling the moon, the constellations, then the sharp edges of buildings – our whole world. Toward the end, when my grandfather seemed only to be lingering of his own will, I stood outside the main entrance of the hospital, looking for headlights; stunned by the deep and unsettling quiet of St Paul under snow and then by the long keening wail of a siren inching toward Emergency, the neon lights there obscured by snow and ice and hope.

January 2017's wintry offering is Caitlin Hamilton Summie's beautifully composed 'Geographies of the Heart'. Readers will find themselves within snowstorms, observing not only grief and loss, but also a thawing of what was once frozen, with the promise of new growth. READ 'GEOGRAPHIES OF THE HEART'. Story selected by guest editor Madeleine D'Arcy.

The Aerialist by Morgan Downie

Albert felt the strong weight of work in his shoulders, a hot glow at the base of his back, tight up into his neck. It was not the career his mother might have planned – in the old country, Albert, a clerk is a fine thing to be – but a brief apprenticeship in book-keeping had at least been enough to get him here and here was so unexpected, so wonderful, that for Albert to be here was enough.

The November 2016 edition of Long Story, Short Journal is 'The Aerialist' by Morgan Downie. Witness the trapeze act of a well-loved mathematician living out an alternative reality that might have been his, given all the potential that time and space holds, both in science, and in fiction. READ 'THE AERIALIST'.

The Man in the Parallel Universe

The man in the parallel universe loves me. He’s tall and grey-haired and handsome still and looks just like Murtagh, but he’s not like him at all. He makes different decisions and chooses different things. And he doesn’t have Murtagh’s dilated eyes.

The October 2016 edition of Long Story, Short Journal is by award winning Irish writer Dolores Walshe. 'The Man in the Parallel Universe' is a portrait of a wife of a Vietnam veteran, who is soon to be a widow, but grieving a man she lost long ago. This tale is not only an exploration of grief, but of survival, and the moments of compassion that sustain us. READ 'THE MAN IN THE PARALLEL UNIVERSE'.

Volcanoes! by Hubert Vigilla

This thing is Greg all over. He read a Greek mythology book and the assignment was to make a board game, so here’s our beat-up Fireball Island from the garage with “Olympus! The Game!” written on one side in white out. He’s hot-glued some of his action figures at the corners. Superman (minus the cape) is Zeus, I think. I can’t really figure out the rest so I ask.

     “Dad,” he says and rolls his eyes. “That’s Batman, Wolverine, and Spider-Man.”

     “But which Greek gods are they?”

     “They’re just Batman, Wolverine, and Spider-Man.”

     “That doesn’t make any sense.”

     He points at a sticky note that reads, “This is very creative, Greg!” A-minus, smiley face. Greg beams and presses his tongue through the gap where a baby tooth used to be.

 

Photo © Kerry Sellers

The September 2016 edition of Long Story, Short Journal is 'Volcanoes!' by Hubert Vigilla. This story invites readers into a stay-at-home father's fantasy world, where tomorrow's lunch is left going stale on the counter while a rumbling volcano is growing in the garage. READ 'VOLCANOES!'

Housebroken by Evelyn Walsh

The night of the robbery Ruth had gone to bed early with The Housebreaker of Shady Hill. She was stunned by this coincidence; it was her opening line in class the next day. We were robbed last night, and guess what I was reading.The kids hooted and crowed in jolly disbelief, or rather the kids who had actually read the story fell about laughing and the others quickly caught on. Ruth laughed along with them. She supposed she should be more upset. 

Photo © Aurélie Bellacicco. 

The August 2016 edition of Long Story, Short Journal is 'Housebroken' by Evelyn Walsh, with a photo by Aurélie Bellacicco. Evelyn Walsh, the 2015 winner of the Seán Ó Faoláin International short story competition, often scrutinises the drama of everyday life in her work. Home, neighbourhood and the workplace are observed with a literary lense, and her characters' lives are relayed with wit, compassion and an unrelenting honesty.  READ 'HOUSEBROKEN'

The Landlord's Daughter by Guy Ware

"He had often wondered at the time how Mr and Mrs P – who were both large and soft and spread themselves widely – could have produced so slight a daughter, a girl whose skeleton one could always sense, just below the surface. He had pondered childhood illnesses, consumption even, before reminding himself it was the twentieth century."
Photo © Sacha Lenz

Photo © Sacha Lenz

July 2016's edition of Long Story, Short Journal is by writer Guy Ware, whose debut novel The Fat of Fed Beasts was declared "brilliant" by Nick Lezard in the Guardian. This month's short story, 'The Landlord's Daughter', confronts the fragility of memory and the vulnerability of the individual facing the classic question: how well one can truly know another human being? READ 'THE LANDLORD'S DAUGHTER'.